If there’s one thing we know for certain about Hollywood’s bright lights, it’s that they can quickly lift someone up only to bring them crashing down again. How many stars have we really seen come and go? How many times have we seen someone tipped for greatness only to have their name fade from public consciousness a few years later?As a result, I find it extremely impressive when someone can leave their mark across multiple generations.
Val Kilmer is one such celebrity who rose to prominence after appearing in a string of commercial successes and did enough to cement his place in pop culture lore.Despite the fact that his most productive years were the ’80s and ’90s, his reputation has ensured that he will always be a fan favorite. Still, there’s a lot you probably don’t know about the 62-year-old. Even though I consider myself a Val fan, there was a lot about him that I didn’t know, such as his turbulent romantic history and somewhat drastic physical alteration…
Val Kilmer was born on December 31, 1959, in Los Angeles. Despite the fact that he seemed destined for a career in show business, no one in his family had any prior experience in the industry. Eugene Kilmer, his father, actually dealt in real estate and distributed aircraft equipment.Val’s parents were probably taken aback by the fact that he was such a natural performer.
He attended Chatsworth High School (where Kevin Spacey and Mare Winningham also attended) and the Hollywood Professional School (where students were given the afternoons off to focus on auditions) after becoming the youngest person ever to be accepted into the Juilliard School’s Drama Division in New York. This is no small feat given how prestigious it is.At this point, it was becoming clear that Val possessed genuine talent.
That, combined with his personality, would propel him to success. Of course, no one could have predicted how far it would go. Val, on the other hand, struggled during his time at Juilliard. When he tried to do things on his own, he ran into problems with the establishment’s authoritarian management style.Despite the setbacks, he did develop his art there, and he emerged from his time there with a wealth of knowledge and experience that would serve him well in the future.
Val immediately entered the New York City theater scene after graduating from Juilliard, where he played several roles and quickly became a household name due to his impressive performance resume.Around the same time, his reputation as a ladies’ man began to take shape.During his time in the theater, he ignited the sparks that would later ignite relationships with celebrities such as Cher and Ellen Barkin.Val’s career in the entertainment industry took off quickly. His first film was Top Secret! (1984), and he later appeared as a supporting actor in Real Genius (1985).
His next major film was Top Gun, in which he played Iceman alongside Tom Cruise.Top Gun was a worldwide commercial success, and it helped launch Val Kilmer’s career in the world of blockbuster films. He appeared out of nowhere and became a permanent fixture in the Hollywood landscape, sparking new rumors about the mysterious man behind the endearing grin. Kilmer continued to act in major films after his success with Top Gun, including the ABC after-school special One Too Many, in which he co-starred with Michelle Pfeiffer.
Others speculated that the two were dating, but neither party ever officially confirmed the rumors.
Val, on the other hand, published a poem about her called “The Pfeiffer Howls at the Moon” two years later. Is it an elegy for an unbreakable bond, or an introspective look at a love affair that went unnoticed? Nobody will ever find out.
Val had not yet found his true love, it is safe to say. He wouldn’t have to sit around for long, though.Willow was released in 1988, directed by George Lucas and starring Val as Madmartigan. Kilmer not only became more well-known, but he also began dating actress Joanne Whalley. After spending a lot of time on set together, the two realized they had a lot more in common than either of them had previously thought.
They were so taken with each other that they decided to marry the same year they met.Val went on to surprise audiences with roles such as his unforgettable performance as Jim Morrison in The Doors (1991). By singing on the film’s soundtrack, Val demonstrated that he was more than a one-trick pony. Val’s career had reached a pinnacle with this position. He was a global icon, and everyone in Hollywood knew who he was. To top it all off, he became a father in 1991 to a little girl he named Mercedes.
Despite this, Val’s life would reach a turning point in the 1990s.His continued participation in films such as Tombstone and True Romance cemented his status as a Hollywood leading man. Val, on the other hand, had a different professional goal in mind. His classical training inspired him to take on more serious roles. Instead, he was stereotyped as a typical action hero. As a result, he declined several high-profile roles, fueling rumors that he was difficult to work with on set.Everything came to a head in 1995, when Val played one of his most iconic roles.
Tim Burton’s Batman Forever grossed an astounding $336.6 million worldwide, making it the highest-grossing film of the year. Nonetheless, as the Caped Crusader, Val was compelled to play the role of an action hero. Actor dissatisfaction was attributed to repeated clashes between him and director Joel Schumacher.
Val meets director Warren Beauty’s children in one story from that time period. He hoped that by dressing up as Batman, he could keep them entertained.
It did, but instead of questioning him, the kids couldn’t stop wondering what it would be like to try on the costume for themselves, and Val realized that it was the suit, not his acting, that made the movie. Val’s life had undergone significant change by 1996. He and wife Joanne Whalley announced their divorce the following year, after eight happy years of marriage and the birth of their son Jack in 1995.
“You just don’t understand humility until you have children and get divorced,” Val told Elle. “I was hurt and angry, and she was, too. When children are involved, however, you either become friends with respect or mortal enemies.” Val’s desire to portray weighty, complex characters remained even after he had moved on. He chose to work with Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Heat instead of the two Batman sequels he was signed up for.