Holy crap, it's R. Lee Ermey!

Five roles you didn't know the Gunny played

Jake Hughes
April 16, 2018 - 11:04 am

U.S. Navy Photo


If you had asked me last week when I thought iconic actor R. Lee Ermey would die, I would have said, "Never! The Gunny could totally take on death!" Sadly, like badasses John Wayne and Charles Bronson before him, Ermey lost his match with the Reaper. Ermey's effect on Cinema is undeniable. His career-making role of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket turned him into a Hollywood and military mainstay. But, despite always being known for yelling, "What is your major malfunction?!" the Gunny was an accomplished actor. He brought an intensity to every role he played. He was often typecast as, "the tough military guy," but he played it well. From big-screen movies to video games to cartoons, the Gunny had a habit of popping up everywhere. So, I decided it would be cool to list a few of his more obscure roles.


The Frighteners

Most of you probably only know director Peter Jackson from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. But Jackson was actually an accomplished horror director before he made it big. He directed a movie called Dead Alive (Brain Dead in the U.K.) that is widely recognized as the goriest movie of all time. He also directed this movie starring Michael J. Fox as paranormal conman Frank Bannister. Early in the movie, Bannister takes a former client to his own funeral (trust me, it makes sense in the movie). As they enter the graveyard... holy crap, it's R. Lee Ermey!


Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult

The Naked Gun movies are a staple of American cinema, in my humble opinion. Based on the TV show Police Squad!, the movies saw clueless Detective Sergeant Frank Drebin, played pitch perfect by Leslie Nielsen, as he stumbled his way towards solving crime. The third and final installment saw Drebin going undercover to catch a notorious bomber. He gets in good with the criminal while in prison, and the two hatch an escape plan. But just as they’re about to exchange notes... holy crap, it's R. Lee Ermey!


Tales from the Crypt

Little needs to be said about this iconic horror serial from the early 90's. Boasting an impressive number of celebrity stars and cameos, the series was widely popular, and a mainstay of late-at-night HBO. This particular tale of woe is called Staired in Horror, and is one of my favorites. In it, a criminal on the run hides in a house owned by a seemingly old woman. The episode is great, and can be found on YouTube, so I highly recommend you check it out. Especially for the scene when the old woman answers the police at the door and... holy crap, it's R. Lee Ermey!


Crash Bandicoot: The Wrath of Cortex

The Crash Bandicoot games are amazing in their own right. The first flagship character for the Sony PlayStation, the 3-D platformers were a blast to play, with fun visuals, catchy island music, and zany cut scenes. Sadly, the 4th installment and first entry on the PlayStation 2, The Wrath of Cortex was not on par with the others. Still, it was a fun game with a decent plot and a stellar cast of voice actors, including Clancy Brown, Mark Hamill, Jess Harnell, and... holy crap, it's R. Lee Ermey!


Invader Zim

While not as publically well beloved as other early 2000's Nickelodeon cartoons, Invader Zim has attained something of a cult following since its unfortunate cancellation in 2004. Created by Jhonen Vasquez, creator of the disturbing and definitely not for kids comic series Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, the show followed the trials of Zim, an alien child tasked with preparing Earth for invasion. However, Zim was often thwarted by conspiracy theorist classmate Dib, or by Zim's own incompetence. In the episode Hobo 13, Zim must go through military training on a distant planet run by a maniacal robot that... holy crap, it's R. Lee Ermey!


There are countless other little cameos and bit parts the Gunny played, so I highly recommend you check out his IMDb page.