Ronald “The Gunny” Lee Ermey, was a United States Marine Corps drill instructor, actor, philanthropist, comedian, and of course — a gun-nut.
He was a voice-actor in one of my all-time favorite animated film (and the subsequent sequels), Toy Story. While Ermey was obviously typecasted frequently, he’s appeared in many many films. I think he enjoyed the notoriety, the work and being armed with such an iconic voice he was likely highly sought after.
His obituary in the LA Times really captures the breadth of his virtues:
[…] A decorated Vietnam Veteran, R. Lee Ermey was an outspoken, rebellious, and creative spirit who dedicated decades of his life in service to his country and to his craft as an actor or television host. Starring or appearing in over 60 feature films, his decades-long career was highlighted by earning a Golden Globe Nomination for his role as drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket, which was released in 1987. While R. Lee Ermey, nicknamed “The Gunny,” often portrayed the villain onscreen, in his personal life he was known best for his sharp sense of humor and generous spirit. Ermey joined the Marines shortly after high school and has often credited the military with saving his life. R. Lee Ermey never stopped showing his gratitude to “The Corps” through his charity work with organizations like The Young Marines, Fisher House and Toys for Tots. […]
I don’t have a particularly decorated or rosy relationship with my father, but Ermey reminds me a lot of my dad. Both men were complicated, really funny, patriotic, and both are definitely gun-nuts. While my father never served in the military, he has a profound and deep admiration for the Marines and servicemen (and servicewomen) of the US. I like to think that The Gunny and my dad would have been really good pals.
I’m happy to see The Gunny was laid to rest during a particularly unique and beautiful backdrop at Arlington Memorial Cemetery:
Rest easy Gunny. ✌️