Ermey's most recognisable on-screen performance also reflected his reality, having previously served as a drill sergeant during the Vietnam War - which allowed him to ad-lib huge portions of dialogue during filming.
After being medically discharged as an E-6 after in 1972 after a tour in Vietnam, Ermey reportedly struggled with his transition to civilian life. He retired from the service after 11 years.
Born in Emporia, Kansas in 1944, Ermey bagged his first acting role while studying drama at the University of Manila in the Philippines, landing a part as a helicopter pilot in "Apocalypse Now" (1979). If you thought he was motivating in Full Metal Jacket you should have seen him on the firing line when points mattered. He later became a drill instructor in India Company, 3rd Recruit Training Battalion, MCRD San Diego, where he was assigned from 1965 to 1967.
Ermey was originally employed as a technical consultant for Full Metal Jacket but wanted the role of the gunnery sergeant and submitted an audition tape of him yelling out insults whole tennis balls flew at him.
It was Hartman's insatiable put-downs and insults - many of which Ermey ad-libbed himself - that stole the film and saw him revered in the film industry. Some other films include The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake franchise, where he played Sheriff Hoyt, as well as the police captain in Se7en from back in 1995. "They're driving us into bankruptcy so that they can impose socialism on us, and that's exactly what they're doing, and I'm sick and damn exhausted of it and I know you are too". He has also contributed many iconic and indelible characters on film that will live on forever.
Ermey also did the voice of the little green army man Sarge in the Toy Story films and played track and field coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman in Prefontaine, General Kramer in Toy Soldiers and Mayor Tilman in Mississippi Burning.
Ermey is survived by his wife Nila of more than 40 years.