R. Lee Ermey, mostly recognised for his role as Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, has died following a bout of pneumonia at the age of 74. A former marine, Ermey's memorably violent lines in the movie led him to become one of the filmmaker's most celebrated characters. His death was announced by agent Bill Rogin in Santa Monica on Sunday 15 April.
Ermey turned towards acting after serving in the Vietnam War. After a few small parts, he went on to play a helicopter pilot in Apocalypse Now. According to Francis Ford Coppola he also served as a military consultant for the movie.
He then solidified his reputation as an actor in Full Metal Jacket, earning himself a Golden Globe nomination for the part. The flowery vocabulary of his character, inspired by his 30 months spent in Vietnam, gave him the freedom to improvise most of his dialogue on the day of shooting. As he explained to the New York Times at the time of the film's release: "It was terrifying to those actors."
Playing figures of authority throughout his career, Ermey appeared in everything from Se7en to The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake. He also provided the voice of the sergeant in the Toy Story films. Check out Ermey's unforgettable performance in Full Metal Jacket just below.