Interview: R. Lee Ermey, Actor

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When you think of a military character in one of your favorite movies, chances are it’s R. Lee Ermey who you’re picturing. With such memorable roles as the intense Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket to the plastic army men in Toy Story, Ermey has appeared in over 60 films over an impressive span of four decades. His 11 years in the Marine Corps and passion for acting have produced several iconic roles in some of the most highly-regarded military films ever made. We had the opportunity to talk with Ermey about his day-to-day activities, his passion projects, and of course, the things he carries every day.

What’s in your everyday carry?

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View R. Lee Ermey’s Full Everyday Carry

We’ve seen the finished films and television shows, but what is your day-to-day like when not on the set?

As a celebrity, I take on many jobs. I am an actor, TV host, spokesperson, and charitable contributor. My day to day varies depending on my role on any given day. I could be giving a speech to a crowd or I could be in front of the camera. Or, I could be hobnobbing with my fellow Marines. I play golf whenever I can. And, I work with select charities whenever possible. I enjoy hunting and fishing, and I try to get in as much time doing both as my hectic schedule permits.

You mentioned charity work, what inspires you to give back to the military community?

My inspiration would be in helping my fellow veterans and retired military personnel. Making sure that we take care of them properly. I never let them feel that their sacrifice is not appreciated. I work with organizations to facilitate veterans causes, and that inspires me each and every day.

Why do you EDC?

If there’s one thing that the Marines taught me, is to be organized and always prepared. I everyday carry items that keep me prepared for everyday situations. I need items on me that help get me through my day, and also offer me motivational support.

You carry a lot of purpose-driven gear, what’s your favorite item out of all your daily essentials?

My favorite item would have to be the one that I use the most. And that would be my knife.

Do you have any recent accomplishments or interesting projects in the works that you’d like to tell us about?

I enjoy hosting the Armed Forces Bowl, working with the Young Marines Youth Organization, giving away houses and helping our veterans on one of my TV shows, Military Makeover, and being a Board Member of the NRA.

Although it may look like a glorious job from the outside, professionally acting is a ton of work. Given your decades of experience, what advice, tip, or secret would you offer to our readers?

For the young actor/actress, don’t be so quick to get married. Wait until you are where you want to be in this Industry. Don’t let anything hold you back. A spouse would hold you back. And, as a struggling actor, it is very difficult to provide for a family. To be successful as an actor, one has to take chances. You need to be single to take the right kind of chances. That way you are only responsible to yourself. You need to be available to travel and go out and socialize, and that also puts a lot of pressure on married life. Stay single until you are where you want to be in life.

Stay up to date with R. Lee Ermey by Liking his Facebook page, following him on Twitter (@RLeeErmey), or visiting his website.

This interview has been edited for clarity. Photos courtesy of R. Lee Ermey.

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