R. Lee Ermey: The Jeep King

If you’re any sort of movie fan, then the name R. Lee Ermey may sound familiar. He’s had major roles in hit movies like Mississippi Burning, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and Se7en. But without a doubt, what he’s most famous for is his Golden Globe nominated role of Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket.

Sheila Benson of the Los Angeles Times says of Ermey’s Full Metal Jacket performance, “In a superb cast of mostly unknowns… Ermey is exceptional. Ermey was a Marine drill instructor and a Vietnam vet, as well as a technical adviser and occasional actor, but this takes away from his driving performance not a whit; he’s not just playing himself any more than Dexter Gordon did in ” ‘Round Midnight.”

So, why in the world are we talking about Ermey here at 4wheelonline?

Well, in addition to his acting credentials and his decorated military history, Ermey– who is often referred to as The Gunny– is also one of the biggest names in the Jeep world.

ermey2Not surprisingly, Ermey’s love for Jeeps originally developed during his time in the Vietnam-era military. From there, he continued to market himself as a Jeep enthusiast by doing a number of Jeep-inspired ventures, including an all-Jeep episode for his History Channel television show, Mail Call. During the episode, Ermey took the audience on a detailed history of the Jeep and its time in the military, while also showcasing his own personal Jeep, which was equipped with an M1919 Browning machine gun.

Ermey didn’t stop there, though. After his show on the History Channel came to an end, Ermey began working with some of today’s premier Jeep companies, including becoming the official spokesman for Omix ADA: the largest independent manufacturer and wholesaler of Jeep parts.

“As one of the most iconic and recognized TV personalities from the United States Armed Forces, The Gunny is a natural fit as our company spokesman,” says Henk Van Dongen, Director of Marketing at Omix ADA. “In addition to the obvious tie- in between Jeep’s history and his work with the Marines, The Gunny represents everything that our brand is: tough, trusted, and well-known in the industry.”

So, for the past few years, Ermey has been traveling around, collecting paychecks and going to some of the world’s largest auto events. And that’s where 4wheelonline caught up with him. Earlier this month at the world-famous SEMA Show, we stopped by his booth to see how he was doing and to get the inside scoop on what exactly is his favorite Jeep of all-time. Check out the interview below.

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