He first served as a technical advisor in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1979 Vietnam War epic “Apocalypse Now” and began his acting career playing a small part as a helicopter pilot in that film. But he did not get his big break until eight years later.
America may know him most famously as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Vietnam War masterpiece film “Full Metal Jacket.” Sadly, R. Lee Ermey has passed away at the age of 74 after complications with pneumonia.
Ermey wasn’t just an actor, but also an outspoken conservative, according to Fox News. He served as a board member for the National Rifle Association and unfortunately, he believes that his conservative views cost him work in Hollywood.
"I've had a very fruitful career. I've done over 70 feature films," he told Fox News in 2016. "I've done over 200 episodes of [Outdoor Channel series 'GunnyTime'] ... and then [Hollywood] found out that I'm a conservative."
He then corrected himself, saying, “I’m an Independent, but I said something bad about the president. I had something unsavory to say about the president’s administration, and even though I did vote for him the first time around, I was blackballed.”
He added, “Do you realize I have not done a movie in five or six years? Why? Because I was totally blackballed by the … liberals in Hollywood,” he said. “They can destroy you. They’re hateful people [who] don’t just not like you, they want to take away your livelihood … that’s why I live up in the desert on a dirt road … I don’t have to put up with their crap.”
Ermey grew up in Kansas before enlisting in the Marine Corps at 17. He spent 14 months in Vietnam before being discharged in 1972. His role as a drill instructor in “Full Metal Jacket” breaking in new Marines at boot camp on Parris Island is one that cemented his place in the annals of film history.
Please pray for the family of R. Lee Ermey during this difficult time. Be sure to pray for the Bush family, who is in the midst of a trying moment. One of their family members is in “failing health.”