R. Lee Ermey

R. Lee Ermey


3/24/1944, Emporia, Kansas, USA

Birth Name

Ronald Lee Ermey



Also Known As

Lee Ermey, Lee Emery
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Ronald Lee Ermey, better known as R. Lee Ermey, was born on March 24, 1944 in Emporia, Kansas and is a retired US Marine Corps Gunnery Sergeant and actor. He is best known for his roles as strict and stern authority figures. Ermey enlisted in the US Marine…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • R. Lee sometimes visits US troops who are stationed abroad. During a USO visit to Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan, he did a comedy routine as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman.

    • R. Lee played Mayor Tilman in Mississippi Burning, the 1988 film about the real-life 1964 murder of three civil rights workers.

    • R. Lee played the father of a murdered teenage girl in the movie Dead Man Walking, a film about capital punishment that starred Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.

    • R. Lee was in the 1995 movie Murder In The First which starred Kevin Bacon and Christian Slater. Kevin played an Alcatraz inmate who was on trial for killing another prisoner, Christian played his lawyer, and R. Lee played the judge who presided over the trial.

    • R. Lee had a minor role as a helicopter pilot in Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now. He was also a technical advisor for the film.

    • R. Lee was in the animated Disney movies Toy Story and Toy Story 2 as the voice of a toy soldier known only as "Sarge."

    • When R. Lee was in The Simpsons episode "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming," one of his lines was, "What is your major malfunction, Sideshow Bob!?" This was a parody of his role in Full Metal Jacket, in which he asked Vincent D'Onofrio's character what his "major malfunction" was.

    • R. Lee played the Police Captain in the horror movie Se7en, which starred Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.

    • Aside from his early military roles, he often plays characters with power, such as sheriffs, police chiefs, and many other types of law enforcement officers.

    • He parodied his own role from Full Metal Jacket as a ghost in the film The Frighteners.

    • His rank in the Marine Corps was E-7 Honorary Gunnery Sergeant.

    • He is best known for playing taciturn military drill instructors.

    • In 1988, R. Lee was nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
      for: Full Metal Jacket (1987).

    • In 1988, R. Lee won the BSFC Award for Best Supporting Actor
      for: Full Metal Jacket (1987).

    • R. Lee appeared in the Crispin Glover music video "Ben" in 2003. It's available only on special features on the Willard (2003) DVD.

    • R. Lee supplied the voiceover for the 2003 Toyota Tundra TV commercial.

    • R. Lee appeared in a TV commercial for The History Channel in 2001.

    • R. Lee appeared in Sarge! - a documentary for The History Channel in 2001.

    • R. Lee did a radio commercial for San Diego's KIOZ Rock 105.3 in 2000.

    • R. Lee appeared in a TV commercial for Fritos in 1998.

    • R. Lee appeared in a TV commercial for Coors beer in 1996.

    • R. Lee was chosen as first celebrity spokesperson for Glock firearms and products in 2004.

    • R. Lee used the same line ("You're not afraid of a little blood, are you?") in two consecutive movies - Willard (2003), and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). Both films were released in 2003 and both films just happened to be remakes as well.

    • After retiring from military service, R. Lee moved to the Phillipines and enrolled in the University of Manila, where he studied Criminology and Drama.

    • R. Lee's U.S. Marine Corps awards and decorations include: Meritorious Unit Commendation, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal (w/bronze service star), Vietnam Campaign Medal (w/60 Device), Vietnam Gallentry Cross (w/Palm), Good Conduct Medal (w/2 bronze service stars), Marksman Badge (w/Rifle Bar) and Sharpshooter Badge (w/Pistol Bar).

    • R. Lee served in the U.S. Marine Corps from April 1961 to October 1971 under the service number 195 60 39. He was retired as a Staff Sergeant on a medical disability.

    • R. Lee was not intended to be in Full Metal Jacket (1987). He was on the set to show the actor how to be a drill sergent but did such a better job that they hired him to play the part.

    • R. Lee has been married to his wife Nila since 1975. They have four children.

    • R. Lee is 6' (1.83 m) tall.

    • R. Lee's nickname is "The Gunny."

    • R. Lee supplied the voice of "Wa-Wa" (The Water Elemental Mask) in the video game, Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex (2001).

  • Quotes

    • R. Lee Ermey: Drill instructors are strange animals. Someone speculated once that an eagle sh-ts them out on a rock and the sun hatches them.

    • R. Lee Ermey: Every role I do, I push the character as far as I can. I'll take him right to the edge. In fact, I'll take him over the edge until the director pulls me back in.

  • funny

    Born in Emporia, Kansas, Ermey enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1961, after being arrested several times as a teenager. A court judge gave him the choice of the military or jail. He later joked that the Marine Corps "put a screeching halt to my unconventional manner." He spent two years as a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in San Diego, California from 1965 to 1967. In 1968, Ermey arrived in Vietnam where he served for 14 months with the Marine Wing Support Group 17. He then served two tours of duty in Okinawa, Japan, during which he rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant and was medically discharged in 1972 for several injuries incurred during his tours. He did not receive a Purple Heart due to his injuries being noncombat in origin. Ermey has admitted that he still has nightmares about his combat experiences, a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder. Ermey was later bestowed with the honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant by the Marine Corps.moreless