A talented character actor known for his military roles, Ronald Lee Ermey was in the United States Marine Corps for 11 years. He rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant, and later was bestowed the honorary rank of Gunnery Sergeant by the Marine Corps, after he served 14 months in Vietnam and later did two tours in Okinawa, Japan. After injuries forced him to retire from the Corps, he moved to the Phillipines, enrolling in the University of Manila, where he studied Criminology and Drama. He appeared in several Filipino films before being cast as a helicopter pilot in Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now (1979). Due to his Vietnam experiences, Coppola also utilized him as a technical adviser. He got a featured role in Sidney J. Furie's The Boys in Company C (1978), playing a drill instructor. Ermey worked with Furie again in Purple Hearts (1984).
However, his most famous (or infamous) role came as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket (1987), for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe. He did win the best supporting actor award from The Boston Society of Film Critics. Since then, he has appeared in numerous character roles in such films as Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Se7en (1995) and Dead Man Walking (1995). However, Ermey prefers comedy to drama, and has a comedic role in Saving Silverman (2001). Ronald Lee Ermey continues to be one of the best character actors in the business, and you can bet that when his name appears in a movie's credits, he is going to be top notch in his role.
|Nila Ermey||(1975 - present) 4 children|
Best known for playing military drill instructors
Commanding and dynamic delivery.
Tough and often scary screen presence
Was not intended to be in Full Metal Jacket (1987). He was hired as a technical advisor for the actor who was to play the drill instructor, but he did such a good job at it that Ermey himself was hired for the part.
Served in the United States 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.
United States 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 Gallantry Cross (w/Palm), Good Conduct Medal (w/two 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.
Aside from his early military roles, he often plays authority figures, such as sheriffs, police chiefs and other types of law-enforcement officers.
Has four children with wife Nila and two daughters from a previous marriage. Has nine grandchildren.
In 1987, he was involved in a jeep accident during the making of Full Metal Jacket (1987). At 1:00 am one morning, he skidded off the road, breaking all the ribs on his left side. He refused to pass out and kept flashing his car lights until a motorist stopped. In some scenes in the movie, he does not move his left arm at all.
In 2010, he was chosen as new spokesman for SOG Specialty Knives & Tool. SOG's new "Gunny Approved" advertising campaign includes a special edition line of knives and tools developed in conjunction with Ermey.
(August 2002) Hosting "Mail Call" on the History Channel.
(July 2005) Starting his third year as host on "Mail Call" on the History Channel.
(August 2009) Hosting "Lock N Load" a new show about military hardware on the History Channel.
(July 2010) Currently doing a series of radio and television commercials for Geico.
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