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Ronald Lee Ermey (March 24, 1944 – April 15, 2018) was an American actor and former Marine corps drill instructor . He achieved fame when he played Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in the 1987 film Full Metal Jacket , which earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor . Ermey was also a United States Marine Corps staff sergeant and an honorary gunnery sergeant. During his tenure in the United States Marine Corps, he also served as a drill instructor.