Godspeed R. Lee Ermey and Thanks for the Awesome Characters

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R. Lee Ermey, the 74-years old US Marine Corps vet and actor most known for his role as the Drill Sargent in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket passed away on Monday. His death was announced on his social media platforms by his long-time manager, Bill Rogin, who wrote a tribute to his late friend. Ermey, or Gunny as friends and family called him, passed away due to complications with pneumonia.

Bill Rogin first announced the death through Ermey’s official Twitter page and then later on Facebook with a tribute to his friend the late actor and military veteran.

“It is with deep sadness that I regret to inform you all that R. Lee Ermey (The Gunny) passed away this morning from complications of pneumonia. He will be greatly missed by all of us. Semper Fi, Gunny. Godspeed.”

“He will be greatly missed by all of us. It is a terrible loss that nobody was prepared for. He has meant so much to so many people. And, it is extremely difficult to truly quantify all of the great things this man has selflessly done for, and on behalf of, our many men and women in uniform. He has also contributed many iconic and indelible characters on film that will live on forever. Gunnery Sergeant Hartman of Full Metal Jacket fame was a hard and principled man. The real R. Lee Ermey was a family man, and a kind and gentle soul. He was generous to everyone around him. And, he especially cared deeply for others in need. There are many Gunny’s, but this one was ours. And, we will honor his memory with hope and kindness. Please support your men and women in uniform. That’s what he wanted most of all.”

However, us horror fans, recognize him as the creepy sheriff in the remake of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003). The film took a beloved horror classic and remade it in a good way that added even more to the story. It was instrumental in making an entirely new generation of Texas Chainsaw Massacre fans. Not a simple accomplishment at all these days, considering most horror remakes tend to be terrible and inferior compared to the original they spawned from. It was in no small part to R. Lee Ermey portrayal of the sheriff that elevated the film and brought a distinct legitimacy that built it into a hit.