By Jordan Peterson | @thefilmmajor
Actor R. Lee Ermey passed away Sunday due to complications arising from pneumonia. The Marine drill sergeant-turned-cinematic icon caught his first major break as an on-screen performer in 1987’s Full Metal Jacket as the intimidating Gunnery Sgt. Hartman after director Stanley Kubrick saw how fearful Ermey’s foul-mouthed barking made his actors during prep-boot camp. Kubrick immediately fired the actor initially cast in the role.
From then on Ermey was consistently cast in similar authoritarian roles and if his face couldn’t be seen, his voice was easily distinguishable. Case in point: Ermey voiced Sarge, the commander of the plastic green Army men in Pixar’s much-beloved Toy Story trilogy.
Other iconic turns for the actor include his terrifying outings as the monstrous Sheriff Hoyt in the 2003 Texas Chainsaw Massacre reboot as well as its prequel The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning.
From 2002 to 2009, Ermey also hosted Mail Call on the History Channel wherein he angrily answered viewer-submitted questions regarding the different weapons, equipment, slang, and tactics utilized by the U.S. military.
R. Lee Ermey was 74 years young.
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: How tall are you private?
Private: Sir, five foot nine, sir!
Gunnery Sergeant Hartman: Five foot nine? I didn’t know they stacked shit that high!
“A good soldier never leaves a man behind!”– Sarge, Toy Story