As the 91st Oscars came and went this past weekend, it became apparent that some stars who passed away in 2018 were not going to be remembered. Many felt the show’s “in memoriam” section was incomplete. Large names like Stan Lee and Burt Reynolds were recognized while others such as Verne Troyer, who played in the Austin Powers movies, were left out.
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Perhaps the biggest embarrassment came when the award show missed the opportunity to pay homage to the late R. Lee Ermey, a retired Marine Corps veteran who passed away in April of 2018 after complications from pneumonia. Ermey had notable roles in various films throughout his life.
His most recognized role was playing Gunny Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s “Full Metal Jacket”. His legendary performance in that film helped the movie feel authentic as he brought real-life experiences into his role.
Ermey was originally a consultant for the “Full Metal Jacket” film in an effort to ensure the authenticity of the film, but the former Marine had his eyes on the role of the drill instructor. He decided to make his own audition tape and gave it to Kubrick.
Kubrick instantly fell in love with Ermey’s bravado and gave him the role early on in the film’s process. Who could forget Ermey’s classic quote in the film: “This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.”
Ermey also appeared in numerous other films throughout his career such as “Se7en,” “Mississippi Burning,” “The X-Files” and “Toy Story 2.” He even dabbled in TV as he hosted “Lock ‘N Load With R. Lee Ermey,” a show which aired on the History channel.
Ermey had a military career of 11 years, which included 14 months in Vietnam and two tours in Okinawa, according to Military.com. He was recently laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery at the age of 74.
Here are some iconic moments from Ermey’s acting in Full Metal Jacket.