R. Lee Ermey
Birthday: March 24, 1944 Birth
Place: Emporia, Kansas, USA Height: 0' 0"
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Character actor R. Lee Ermey specializes in playing tough military men and authority figures on television and in feature films. In his case, it is an issue of art imitating life, for he served as a non-commissioned officer in Vietnam. Injuries forced him to retire from active duty. In order to stretch his disability pay farther, he moved to the Philippines and, while there, studied criminology. Ermey broke into films while he was living in Manila. Every morning, he would stop in at a coffee shop at the city's Hilton hotel. The place was a popular hangout for Hollywood directors, one of whom noticed Ermey and asked him to pose for a series of ads for blue jeans. This experience led to his film debut, a role as a retired soldier in a local production. By 1976, he had appeared in several Filipino films. He broke into Hollywood films that year, when he visited the set for Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now and got himself hired as a helicopter pilot. The ex-officer's Vietnam experience came in handy and Coppola utilized him as a technical advisor. He made his acting debut in an American film in Sidney J. Furie's comedy-drama The Boys in Company C (1978). Ermey worked again with Furie as technical advisor and actor in Purple Hearts (1984). The former marine got his biggest break in Stanley Kubrick's powerful Full Metal Jacket (1987). His profane, ruthless, and intense portrayal of Marine gunnery sergeant Hartman, who had the thankless, brutal job of toughening up raw recruits before sending them to Vietnam dominated the film's first 45 minutes and provides an unforgettably realistic, disturbing portrait of military training. Thanks to his unique countenance and authoritative voice, Ermey maintained a career as a character actor appearing in such well-received films as Alan Parker's raceical drama Mississippi Burning, and Abel Ferrara's version of Body Snatchers. In 1995 he spoofed himself to great effect as the voice of the leader of the little green soldiers in Toy Story, while also playing the vengeful father of a murder victim in Tim Robbins capital punishment drama Dead Man Walking. In addition to those, he played the boss to Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt in the haunting thriller Seven.In the next decade Ermey hosted the reality program Mail Call that featured him answering a variety of viewer questions about various aspects of military life and history. He also appeared in the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, as well as that remake's sequel in 2006.
Was not intended to be in Full Metal Jacket (1987). He was on the set to show the actor how to be a sergent but did such a better job that they hired him to play the part.
Served in the U.S. Marine Corps from April 1961 to October 1971 under the service number 195 60 39. Was retired as a Staff Sergeant on a medical disability.
Although he retired from the United States Marine Corps in 1971, Ermey was later awarded the Honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant.
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).
After injuries forced him to retire from military service, he moved to the Phillipines and enrolled in the University of Manila, where he studied Criminology and Drama.
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.
Chosen as first celebrity spokesperson for Glock firearms and products in 2004.
Parodied his famous role from "Full Metal Jacket" (Sgt Hartman) as a Ghost in the film "The Frighteners"
Aside from his early military roles, he often plays characters with power, such as sheriffs, police chief's, and many other types of law enforcement officers.
Has four children with wife Nila and two daughters from a previous marriage. Has nine grandchildren.
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