Creator / R. Lee Ermey

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That's Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey to you, maggot!

Gunnery Sergeant Ronald Lee Ermey (born March 24, 1944) is a former United States Marine Corps drill instructor and Vietnam War veteran turned actor/media personality.

Having appeared in the film The Boys in Company C (playing — what else? — a Marine drill instructor) and served as a technical advisor to Francis Ford Coppola for Apocalypse Now, Ermey became a pop culture icon with his role in Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket, which had him play a foul-mouthed drill instructor whose sadistic training methods end up driving one recruit insane and lead to his death. Incidentally, his scenes are one of the few times Kubrick ever allowed improvisation in any of his films.

The role made him the poster child for the trope Drill Sergeant Nasty and landed him work in other films (most notably Se7en, where he ironically plays against type as a rather mellowed out police captain), as well as a slew of voice-over work due to his distinct gruff voice (such as Sarge, the leader of the Army Men in Toy Story), and ultimately a hosting job for several History Channel military-themed shows (Mail Call and Lock n' Load with R. Lee Ermey). He's also guest-starred as the abusive ex-Drill Sergeant Nasty father of the title character of House.

He actually retired from the Marines as a Staff Sergeant. In 2002, he was the first person in Marine Corps history to be promoted after retirement when the Commandant of the Marine Corps ordered an honorary promotion to Gunnery Sergeant "in recognition of his continuing support to Americans in military service, and of his service as an unofficial ambassador for the Marine Corps."

Person

  • Adam Westing: In Saving Silverman.
    • Also, his Geico commercial.
  • Ascended Extra: Originally brought on to Full Metal Jacket for accuracy advice, his demonstrations of how to do a Drill Sergeant Nasty were so good that he was cast in his famed role.
    • Said demonstration was unflinchingly chewing out the camera with both tennis balls and rotten oranges being thrown at him, and he continued to chew out the camera for fifteen straight minutes, during which he never once moved, changed his expression, or repeated himself.
    • What really sealed the deal, however, was when he spoke to Stanley Kubrick on the set and said "YOU STAND UP WHEN I TALK TO YOU!!!" and Kubrick found himself doing so automatically.
  • Badass: Ermey was an established U.S. Marine drill instructor at age 21.
  • Badass Biker: Shows off his shooting skills on the back of his bike on Lock 'N Load.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: He has very large eyebrows, which aid in his intimidation factor.
  • The Determinator: Was once in a car accident which knocked him off the road. He flashed his lights for hours until someone found him.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: He is the consummate master of this trope.
  • Large Ham: Screaming profanities is practically his trademark.
  • No Indoor Voice: His roles tend to run on this.
  • Semper Fi: He was once a Drill Instructor in the Marine Corps. It shows.
  • Trope Codifier: Most Drill Sergeant Nasty characters take a page from his book (if they aren't played by him in the first place).
  • Younger Than They Look: He was only 42 when he filmed Full Metal Jacket. He looks almost the same from then as in his Geico commercial...over 20 years later.


Shows

  • Bullet Time: What did you expect with all of the guns on Lock n' Load?
  • The Cameo: On the Artillery episode of Lock and Load, the hwacha, an ancient Korean multiple rocket launcher, is mentioned and shown being fired. It's the exact same one that the MythBusters Build Team constructed, as shown by the mismatched wheels, though this fact is not mentioned in the show.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Mail Call has the host note that watermelons are his "sworn enemy", and hence uses them as target practice. This gets carried over to Lock n' Load.
    • However, Ermey actually plays with the trope in an episode of Lock and Load. "Some people think I don't like watermelons. Well, that's not true - I just believe you gotta kill it before you eat it."
      • In another episode, he comments that he has nothing against watermelons, it's just that heads are so much more expensive.
      • Maybe a shout out to FMJ, since the one thing Private Snowball wouldn't like was that (in addition to fried chicken) watermelon isn't served on a daily basis in his mess hall.
    • Another episode of Lock n' Load had Ermey mow down several jars of gumballs with an uzi, prefacing the destruction by saying "I HATE Gumballs, they cause tooth decay!!"
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: The main point of Mail Call.
  • More Dakka: Look, Lock And Load is about firearms. What do you expect? (Taken to its logical extent with episodes devoted solely to machine guns, from the original hand-cranked Gatling onwards.)
  • Not So Stoic: In a Lock and Load episode, when the host fires a .44 Magnum and gets knocked down in the process, he promptly does not want to fire it again.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: Ermey addresses this in an episode of Mail Call, pointing out how doing this is a good way to lose teeth.

"Semper Fi." (salutes) Carry on.

Alternative Title(s): R Lee Ermey

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