R. Lee Ermey, a former Marine Corps drill instructor best known for his role in Stanley Kubrick’s film “Full Metal Jacket,” was buried at Arlington National Cemetery Friday with full military honors, the U.S. Naval Institute said.
Ermey died on April 15, 2018, due to complications from pneumonia. He was 74.
Before playing his famous role as the sadistic Gunnery Sgt. Hartman in the 1987 film, Ermey enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1961. The Kansas native served for 11 years, including 14 months in Vietnam, before he was medically discharged in 1972 due to injuries.
Ermey had small roles in “Apocalypse Now” and “The Boys in Company C” before he got his big break in “Full Metal Jacket.” Ermey was originally supposed to be a technical adviser, but Kubrick offered him the role of Gunnery Sgt. Hartman after seeing a demo tape of the actor railing at extras while tennis balls flew at him.
“Full Metal Jacket” earned Ermey a Golden Globe nomination, as well as a career playing authority figures — from Mayor Tilman in 1988’s “Mississippi Burning” to little green army man Sarge in the more family-friendly “Toy Story.”
Ermey appeared in a number of television shows and films and also hosted the History Channel series “Mail Call” and “Lock N’ Load with R. Lee Ermey.”
He was an outspoken supporter of the military.
“I was in during the Vietnam era, so we weren’t widely respected at all,” Ermey told the U.S. Naval Institute in 2015. “Matter of fact that was the era when, when you came back from war, they spit on you. That was the hippie generation though. There’s still some problems, still some situations, and there’s still some people in this world who just refuse to support our beloved military.”
Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain and the Associated Press contributed to this report.