As much as it represents larger-than-life symbol of the entertainment business and glamour, Hollywood is at the same time a place where many dreams are crashed.
Over the years, a huge number of actors and actresses experienced the Hollywood glam, but not many were destined to stay there for long. Those who did, however, left a mark and even changed the industry forever.
One actor who made an impact and then somehow faded out of the spotlight is Val Kilmer.
Born on December 31, 1959 in Los Angeles, to parents who were not in any way related to the acting business, Val showed immense talent for acting from very early age. He attended Chatsworth High School together with Kevin Spacey and Mare Winningham and then the Hollywood Professional School. Val became the youngest ever person at the time to be accepted into the Juilliard School’s Drama Division in New York.
After Juilliard, young Val found himself conquering the New York City theater scene. What followed were some roles in blockbusters, and eventually, he ended up being part of some of the most iconic movies such as Top Gun, where he starred opposite Tom Cruise. This movie helped Val make a name for himself almost overnight. All of a sudden, everyone was obsessed with this young actor’s charming looks and undeniable talent.
During the 80s, Val starred opposite Michelle Pfeiffer in the ABC afterschool Special One Too Many. Rumors were that the two were a thing, but neither ever denied or confirmed that. Val, however, wrote a song about her titled “The Pfeiffer Howls at the Moon,” which only made the magazines speculate about their alleged relationship even further back in the day.
On the set of Willow, in 1988, Val met his future wife, actress Joanne Whalley. They had two children together before they decided to put a stop on their marriage eight years later.
“You just don’t understand humility until you have children and get divorced,” Val told Elle magazine about the divorce.
“I was very hurt and very angry and so was she. But when kids are involved, you either become friends with respect or you become mortal enemies.”
In 1991, Val played the iconic role of Jim Morrison in The Doors. He provided the vocals for the movie’s soundtrack, showing the world just another talent of his.
Others movies that followed and marked Val’s career, among the rest, are Tombstone, True Romance, and Batman.
Batman Forever ended up being the year’s highest grossing film, raking in some $336.6 million at the box office.
Although playing this superhero put Val on the pedestal, he felt like he didn’t want to do the sequels and decided to stare alongside Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Heat. This decision didn’t turn out to be the best one because the refusal sort of broke Val’s reputations and roles started to dry up. On top of that, he was believed to be tough to work with on set.
In 2015, Val underwent a surgery due to throat cancer and lost his natural voice. When asked what he truly misses about his old voice, he said, “That I had one! That I didn’t laugh like a pirate.”
Val Kilmer will reprise the role of Lt. Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in Top Gun: Mavericks, coming out in May, 2022.