R. Lee Ermey Biography


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Birth Name: R. Lee Ermey
Born: 03/24/1944
Birth Place: Emporia, Kansas, USA


Ermey medically retired from active duty after sustaining injuries. He moved to Manila in the Philippines where he could afford to live on his disability pay and study for a degree in criminology on the GI Bill. Ermey started each day at the coffee shop of the Manila Hilton where many Hollywood filmmakers dined before the day's location shooting. Eventually one of them asked Ermey to model blue jeans for TV ads. Several macho ads later, the retired soldier landed a role in a local Tagalog-language film. Several other Filipino features followed before 1976 when Ermey wangled his way onto the set of Francis Ford Coppola's epic production "Apocalypse Now" (which would not be released until 1979). Hired to play a helicopter pilot, Ermey utilized his Vietnam memories to act as a technical advisor as well. This quickly led to a job as a technical advisor and actor on the Sidney J. Furie-directed 'Nam drama. "The Boys in Company C" (1977). Furie gave Ermey his next stateside film job as an actor-advisor in the war melodrama "Purple Hearts" (1984) but his career really took off with the Kubrick film.

Ermey has worked regularly in film and TV since the critical triumph of "Jacket". He played the mayor who hanged himself in "Mississippi Burning" (1988), a Southern televangelist in "Fletch Lives" (1989), and a succession of military officers, lawmen, athletic coaches and authority figures in various films, including "Leaving Las Vegas," "Se7en," "Dead Man Walking" (all 1995), "The Frighteners" (1996), "Prefontaine" (1997), "Saving Silverman" (2001), "The Salton Sea" (2002), "Willard" (2003), the remake of "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (2003) and "Man of the House" (2005), as well as the telepics "Weapons of Mass Distraction" (1997) and "You Know My Name" (1999) --and yes, that's Ermey as the voice of the leader of the plastic green army men in the "Toy Story" films.

His TV work is comprised of guest shots, supporting roles in TV movies and a recurring role in the rousing, old-fashioned "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." (Fox, 1993-94), as the late father of the Western hero. He also played police lieutenant Fry on the short-lived American version of the British TV detective series "Cracker" (ABC, 1997), had a recurring role as Titus Scroad on the brief Fox Hollywood satire "Action." Ermey has lent his distinctive bark to numerous animated series and video games as a voiceover actor.




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