Ermey's daughter also revealed that it was always her dad's dream to become a country singer.
Ermey, who rose to fame on screen as the no-nonsense drill instructor in Stanley Kubrick’s1987 film “Full Metal Jacket,” passed away on April 15, 2018, at age 74 from pneumonia.
“He didn’t graduate from high school,” Betty explained. “He enlisted in the Marines under court order. He was given the option of either going to juvenile detention or joining the military service. He went to the Navy recruit office, but they didn’t take him. So he went to the Marines recruit office… He was very athletic because he grew up on a farm, so he was constantly doing farm work. The Marines took him and shipped him out.”
“He wanted to be a Marine for the rest of his life,” she explained. “He didn’t know what else to do his life. But he knew he wanted to stay connected with them somehow. He went to the Philippines to study drama. At that point in the ‘70s, a lot of Vietnam War films were being filmed in the Phillippines. So he was able to get involved as a technical advisor, helping out in these films.”
“Anytime the Marines needed any help or motivation, he was always there,” she said. “He made that a priority with his agent… He credited the Marines for saving his life and for his success.”