John Wayne

John Wayne and R. Lee Ermey Once Appeared in a Coors Light Beer Commercial Referencing 2 Iconic War Movies

John Wayne and R. Lee Ermey continue to exist in popular culture because of their legendary movie roles. However, they have another thing in common past the silver screen. Wayne and Ermey joined forces in a beer commercial that references two iconic war movies. This is the type of collaboration the actors’ fans continue to gush over.

The John Wayne Cancer Institute sought to fight back against cancer

John Wayne as General Mike Randolph in 'Cast a Giant Shadow,' which would be used for the Coors Light commercial riding in a military vehicle smiling
John Wayne as General Mike Randolph | John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images

Wayne is a Western movie icon, but his reach went far beyond the silver screen. He originally overcame one form of cancer, although he ultimately died from stomach cancer. Wayne fought against it until the end and never wanted it to slow him down. Unfortunately, he died in 1979. The John Wayne Cancer Institute was created to fight against the disease around the world and help those in need.

Meanwhile, Ermey was also a notable actor, but he primarily starred in authority roles. He earned fame for his performance as Gunnery Sergeant Hartman in Full Metal Jacket. Ermey died as a result of complications related to pneumonia in 2018. However, Wayne and Ermey would ultimately star in the same commercial on television before that.

John Wayne and R. Lee Ermey appeared in a Coors Light commercial referencing ‘Full Metal Jacket’

Wayne and Ermey shared the television screen in a Coors Light commercial. It took the dedication of the beer company to make this collaboration possible. It was set to air during the season finale break of Friends in May 1996.

The video shows Ermey interrogating his troops as the sergeant to discover the person responsible for leaving his six-pack of Coors Light in the barracks. However, his general, played by Wayne, interrupts him to say, “It’s my beer, sergeant.” The Ermey stammers and apologizes before he tasks his troops with finding Wayne’s missing pretzels.

Wayne and Ermey’s fans are in love with the Coors Light commercial. It combines beer with two famous American actors that many audiences continue to identify with. The commercial saw airtime for quite a while, although Coors Light would ultimately replace the advertisement ones a bit more modern.

The commercial is a clear reference to Full Metal Jacket, but there’s another iconic war movie that it brings back into the spotlight.

The Coors Light commercial used ‘digitized computer technologies’

A Coors Light press release from 1996 announced the Wayne partnership for the commercial.

“Employing digitized computer technologies similar to those used in the Academy Award-winning film Forrest Gump, the spot features a cameo appearance by Wayne taken from the 1966 film Cast a Giant Shadow,” Coors Light wrote.

The press release explained that the shooting and editing of the Wayne and Ermey commercial required a stand-in that took five days. Additionally, the process of digitally inserting the Western star took three “labor-intensive” weeks.

The Wayne and Coors Light partnership included the company making a donation to the John Wayne Cancer Institute, aiding in creating an advertising campaign, and an 800 number for fundraising purposes.

“The Wayne family and the John Wayne Cancer Institute are very excited about this association with Coors,” Wayne’s son, Michael, said. “Not only is this a unique commercial, but this partnership greatly aids the institute’s fight against this horrible disease.”

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