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Kilmer at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival
|Born||Val Edward Kilmer
December 31, 1959
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Education||Juilliard School (1981)|
|Spouse||Joanne Whalley (1988–1996)|
Val Edward Kilmer (born December 31, 1959) is an American actor. Originally a stage actor, Kilmer is best known for his role as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's The Doors, and Bruce Wayne/Batman in Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever. He became popular in the mid-1980s after a string of appearances in comedy films, starting with Top Secret! (1984), then the cult classic Real Genius (1985), as well as blockbuster action films, including a supporting role in Top Gun and a lead role in Willow.
Kilmer was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Gladys (née Ekstadt) and Eugene Kilmer, an aerospace equipment distributor and real estate developer. Kilmer's grandfather was a gold miner in New Mexico; the poet Joyce Kilmer is a distant cousin of Kilmer's. His mother was of Swedish descent, and his father's ancestry included German, Irish, and Cherokee. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley with his two siblings, older brother Mark and younger brother Wesley (who died at 15 due to an epileptic seizure in a swimming pool). His parents divorced when he was nine years old.
Kilmer was raised a Christian Scientist and attended Berkeley Hall School, a Christian Science school in Los Angeles, from nursery school until graduation from the 9th grade. He then attended Chatsworth High School—where his classmates included Kevin Spacey and Mare Winningham—as well as the Hollywood Professional School. At the age of 17, he became the youngest person at the time to be accepted into the Juilliard School's Drama Division, where he was a member of Group 10 (1977–1981).
In 1981, Kilmer co-authored and starred in the play How It All Began, which was performed at the Public Theatre at the New York Shakespeare Festival. Kilmer turned down a role in Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 film, The Outsiders, as he had prior theatre commitments. That same year, his first off-stage acting role (excluding television commercials) came in the form of a television short titled One Too Many, which was an educational drama on drinking and driving; it also starred a young Michelle Pfeiffer. His big break came when he received top billing in the spoof comedy Top Secret!, where he played an American rock and roll star. Kilmer sang all the songs in the film and released an album under the film character's name, "Nick Rivers".
During a brief hiatus, he backpacked throughout Europe before going on to play the lead character in the 1985 comedy Real Genius. He turned down roles in Dune and Blue Velvet before being cast as naval aviator "Iceman" in the action film Top Gun alongside Tom Cruise. Top Gun grossed a total of $344,700,000 worldwide. Following roles in the television films The Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains, Kilmer played Madmartigan in the fantasy Willow; he met his future wife, co-star Joanne Whalley, on the film's set. Kilmer published a book of his poems, My Edens After Burns, in 1987, and starred in the Colorado Shakespeare Festival production of Hamlet in 1988. In 1989, Kilmer played the lead in both Kill Me Again, again opposite Whalley, and in TNT's Billy the Kid.
After several delays, director Oliver Stone finally started production on the film The Doors, based on the band of the same name. Kilmer memorized the lyrics to all of lead singer Jim Morrison's songs prior to his audition, and sent a video of himself performing some Doors songs to director Stone. Stone was not impressed with the tape, but Paul Rothchild (the original producer of The Doors) said "I was shaken by it" and suggested they record Kilmer in the studio. After Kilmer was cast as Morrison, he prepared for the role by attending Doors tribute concerts and reading Morrison's poetry. He spent close to a year before production dressing in Morrison-like clothes, and spent time at Morrison's old hangouts along the Sunset Strip. His portrayal of Morrison was praised and members of The Doors noted that Kilmer did such a convincing job that they had trouble distinguishing his voice from Morrison's. Paul Rothchild played Val's version of 'The End' for Robby Krieger, and he told him "I'm really glad they got 'The End'. We never got a recording of that live with Jim and now we've got it." However, Doors keyboardist, Ray Manzarek, was less than enthusiastic with how Morrison was portrayed by director Oliver Stone's interpretation. In the early 1990s, Kilmer starred in the mystery thriller Thunderheart, action comedy The Real McCoy and again teamed with Top Gun director Tony Scott to play Elvis in True Romance, which was written by Quentin Tarantino.
In 1993, Kilmer played Doc Holliday in the western Tombstone alongside Kurt Russell, in what is credited as one of Kilmer's finest performances. 1995 saw Kilmer star in Wings of Courage, a 3D IMAX film, and that same year, he starred opposite Al Pacino and Robert De Niro in Heat, which is now considered one of the best crime/drama films of the 1990s. In 1996, he appeared in a largely unknown film, Dead Girl, and starred alongside Marlon Brando in the poorly received The Island of Dr Moreau. That year, Kilmer starred alongside Michael Douglas in the thriller The Ghost and the Darkness. The next year he played Simon Templar in the popular action film, The Saint. In 1998, he lent his voice to the animated film The Prince of Egypt as Moses, before starring in the independent film Joe the King (1999) and playing a blind man in the drama/romance At First Sight, which he described as of then, the hardest role he had ever had.
In December 1993, Batman Forever director Joel Schumacher had seen Tombstone and was most impressed with Kilmer's performance as Doc Holliday. Schumacher felt him to be perfect for the role of the Caped Crusader, though at the time, the role was still Michael Keaton's.
In July 1994, Michael Keaton decided not to return for a third Batman film after 1992's Batman Returns, due to "creative differences." William Baldwin (who previously worked with Schumacher on Flatliners) was reported to be a top contender, though just days after Keaton dropped out, Kilmer was cast. Kilmer took the role without even knowing who the new director was and without reading the script.
Released in June 1995, Batman Forever was a success at the box office, despite receiving mixed reviews from critics. There was debate about the performance of Val Kilmer; some critics charged that Kilmer, while physically fit to play Batman, more so than his predecessor Michael Keaton had been, gave a wooden performance as Bruce Wayne. Other critics though, such as Roger Ebert, had kind words for Kilmer. Batman creator Bob Kane said in a Cinescape interview that of all the actors to have played Batman up to that point (before the series was rebooted in 2005 with Christian Bale in the lead role), he felt Kilmer had given the best interpretation. Film critic Leonard Maltin (who heavily criticized the dark tone contained in Batman Returns) complimented Kilmer's portrayal when he reviewed the film for his expanding collection of film reviews, as well as being very favorable of the film as a whole. Defenders of Batman Forever praised the film for portraying Batman as a more heroic, less ruthless, and more human character than in the Tim Burton films. The film also brought the film interpretation of Bruce Wayne more into line with his comic book counterpart, showing him as a seasoned celebrity of the media and a very public figure rather than the neurotic recluse of the previous films.
In February 1996, Kilmer decided not to return for another Batman feature film, feeling that Batman was being marginalized in favor of the villains. Kilmer went on to do The Saint with a salary of $6 million. George Clooney replaced Kilmer as Batman in 1997's Batman & Robin.
||This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (May 2011)|
Kilmer's first role in 2000 was in the big budget Warner Bros. box office disaster Red Planet. That same year, he had a supporting role in the film Pollock and hosted Saturday Night Live for the first time. In 2002, he starred in the thriller The Salton Sea, which was generally well-reviewed, but received only a limited release. The same year, he teamed with his True Romance co-star, Christian Slater, and the two starred in the low budget film, Hard Cash, also known as Run for the Money.
In 2003, Kilmer starred alongside Kate Bosworth in the drama/thriller Wonderland, as well as appearing in The Missing, where he again worked with Willow director Ron Howard. The next year, he starred in Spartan, where he played a United States government secret agent who is assigned the task of rescuing the kidnapped daughter of the President. He received Delta Force-like training in preparation for the role. Subsequently, he had a role in the drama, Stateside, and starred (again with Slater) in the thriller Mindhunters, which was filmed in 2003 but not released until 2005. Kilmer next appeared in the big budget Oliver Stone production, Alexander, which received poor reviews. Also in 2004, Kilmer returned to the theatre to play Moses in a Los Angeles musical production of The Ten Commandments: The Musical, produced by BCBG founder Max Azria. The production played at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood and also featured Adam Lambert. Kilmer had previously played Moses in the animated film The Prince of Egypt. Finally in 2004, Kilmer appeared in an episode of Entourage, where he played a Sherpa whose primary source of income was the growing, harvesting and distributing high-quality marijuana, all under a guise of metaphysical insights.
Kilmer was in negotiations with Richard Dutcher (a leading director of Mormon-related films) to play the lead role in a film entitled Prophet: The Story of Joseph Smith, although the project never materialized. Kilmer performed in The Postman Always Rings Twice on the London stage from June to September 2005. In 2005, he co-starred with Robert Downey, Jr. in the action-comedy film Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. His performance was praised and the film was well reviewed, but the film received only a limited release. It later won the award as "Overlooked Film of the Year" from the Phoenix Film Critics Society.
In 2006, he reunited with director Tony Scott a third time for a supporting role opposite Denzel Washington in the box-office hit Déjà Vu. The song "Val Kilmer" was named after him on Bowling for Soup's 2006 album The Great Burrito Extortion Case,. The song was later used for one of the Ford commercials on season 10 of American Idol in 2011. In 2007, he guest-starred in hit TV series Numb3rs episode "Trust Metric" as torture expert Mason Lancer.
In 2008, Kilmer starred alongside Stephen Dorff in the Sony and Stage 6 film Felon. The film was given only a limited theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles in 2008, but it developed into a success secondary to positive word of mouth.
Kilmer was the voice of the car KITT for the 2008 Knight Rider TV pilot film and the following television series. He replaced Will Arnett, who had to step down from the role due to contractual conflict with General Motors. In keeping with tradition established by the original Knight Rider series and original KITT actor William Daniels, Kilmer was uncredited for the role on-screen.
He next starred alongside Nicolas Cage in the Werner Herzog film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, and alongside Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson in Streets of Blood. Both were released in 2009. He appeared as the main antagonist "Mongoose" in a live TV series adaptation of the comic/video game of XIII on NBC in 2009.
In November 2010, Kilmer was filming in Kelseyville, California; he is the lead role in the Francis Ford Coppola film Twixt. The film is being filmed mostly on Coppola's estate in Napa County. The filming is expected to take five weeks and is being independently funded by Coppola.
In 2010, Val Kilmer appeared as the villain Dieter Von Cunth in MacGruber.
In 2012, Val Kilmer appeared in Tenacious D's music video "To Be The Best" as a small cameo role.
In 2012, Val Kilmer spoke at the May 5 commencement ceremonies of William Woods University in Fulton, MO where he also received an honorary doctorate.
Since 2002, Kilmer has been working on a film about the life of Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Christian Science church, and Mark Twain, one of her most famous critics. Kilmer is still working on the film, which is about the lives and relationship of Mary Baker Eddy and Mark Twain as "a quirky, tender, tragicomic portrait of two contrasting lives, set against the backdrop of Gilded Age America."
Kilmer was married to actress Joanne Whalley from March 1988 to February 1996. The two met while working together on the film Willow. The couple had two children: a daughter, Mercedes (b. October 29, 1991), and a son, Jack (b. June 6, 1995).
Even though he has had a reputation of being difficult; Warwick Davis, Kilmer's co-star from the 1988 fantasy Willow, in his audio commentary for the film said that the question he's most asked is what it was like working with Kilmer, Davis describes him as a very funny man and a hard working, dedicated actor.
Other actors have noted that he prepares for his roles extensively and meticulously. Irwin Winkler (director of At First Sight) talked about his decision to hire Kilmer. "I'd heard the stories, so I checked him out. I called Bob DeNiro and Michael Mann, who'd worked with him on Heat, and they both gave him raves... I had a wonderful experience in spite of all the naysayers." Jeffrey Katzenberg (producer of Prince of Egypt) talks about the actor. "Val was one of the first people cast in The Prince of Egypt. He was there every step of the way; patient, understanding, and phenomenally generous with his time."
Kilmer is also an avid musician, and released a CD in the fall of 2007, proceeds of which went to his charity interests.
Kilmer owns a ranch in New Mexico, where he hunts, tracks, hikes, fishes, and raises bison. Kilmer is also involved with The Wildlife Center of New Mexico and assists in rescuing animals and releasing them on his ranch.
|1977||The Deep||Bit Part||Film Debut|
|The Spy Who Loved Me||Bit Part|
|1979||Apocalypse Now||Bit Part|
|1984||Top Secret!||Nick Rivers|
|1985||Real Genius||Chris Knight|
|1986||Top Gun||Lt. Tom 'Iceman' Kazanski|
|The Murders in the Rue Morgue||Phillipe Huron||television film|
|1987||The Man Who Broke 1,000 Chains||Robert Eliot Burns/Eliot Roberts||television film
CableACE Award for Best Actor in a Movie or Miniseries
|1989||Billy the Kid||William Bonney|
|Kill Me Again||Jack Andrews|
|1991||The Doors||Jim Morrison||Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Performance - Male|
|1993||The Real McCoy||J.T. Barker|
|Tombstone||Doc Holliday||Based on a true story
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Male
Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Best Performance - Male
|True Romance||Elvis Presley|
|1995||Batman Forever||Bruce Wayne/Batman||Nominated – MTV Movie Award for Most Desirable Male|
|Heat||Chris Shiherlis||Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor|
|Wings of Courage||Jean Mermoz||IMAX Film|
|1996||The Island of Dr Moreau||Montgomery||Nominated – Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Supporting Actor|
|The Ghost and the Darkness||Col. John Henry Patterson|
|Dead Girl||Dr. Dark|
|1997||The Saint||Simon Templar|
|1998||The Prince of Egypt||Moses/God||Voice-over|
|1999||At First Sight||Virgil 'Virg' Adamson|
|Joe the King||Bob Henry|
|2000||Pollock||Willem de Kooning|
|Red Planet||Robby Gallagher|
|2002||The Salton Sea||Danny Parker / Tom Van Allen||Limited release
Prism Award for Best Performance in a Theatrical Feature Film
|Hard Cash||FBI Agent Mark C. Cornell||a.k.a. Run for the Money|
|2003||Wonderland||John Holmes||Based on the Wonderland Murders|
|The Missing||Lt. Jim Ducharme|
|Blind Horizon||Frank Kavanaugh|
|Masked and Anonymous||Animal Wrangler|
|2004||Entourage||The Sherpa||Episode: "The Script and the Sherpa"|
|Stateside||Staff Sergeant Skeer|
|Alexander||Philip II of Macedon|
|George and the Dragon||El Cabillo||uncredited|
|Kiss Kiss Bang Bang||Perry Van Shrike/"Gay Perry"||Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated– Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor
|2006||Summer Love||The Wanted Man||a.k.a. Dead Man's Bounty|
|10th & Wolf||Murtha|
|Déjà Vu||Agent Andrew Pryzwarra|
|The Ten Commandments: The Musical||Moses|
|2007||Have Dreams, Will Travel||Henderson|
|Numb3rs||Mason Lancer||Episode: "Trust Metric"|
|2008||Comanche Moon||Inish Scull||TV mini-series based on the book|
|Knight Rider||voice of KITT||television film based on 1980s TV series|
|The Love Guru||Himself||uncredited cameo|
|XIII||Mongoose||based on Belgian comic book XIII|
|2009||The Chaos Experiment||James Pettis||a.k.a. The Steam Experiment|
|Streets of Blood||Detective Andy Devereaux|
|American Cowslip||Todd Inglebrink|
|The Thaw||Dr. David Kruipen|
|Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans||Stevie Pruit|
|Double Identity||Dr. Nicholas Pinter|
|2010||The Traveler||The Stranger/Mr. Nobody|
|MacGruber||Dieter Von Cunth|
|2011||Kill the Irishman||Joe Manditski|
|5 Days of War||Dutch Journalist|
|Spider-Man: Edge of Time||Walker Sloan||video game|
|2012||Tenacious D "To Be the Best"||Himself||music video|
|Wyatt Earp's Revenge||Wyatt Earp|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Val Kilmer|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Val Kilmer|
|Actors to portray Batman
|Actors to portray Simon Templar