Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Kilmer is known for roles as diverse as the Elvis-like teen idol Nick Rivers in Top Secret! to real-life legends Billy the Kid, cultural hero Robert Elliot Burns , and rock idol Jim Morrison, to larger-than-life characters Bruce Wayne/Batman and Simon Templar, the Saint. In the 2002 film The Salton Sea, he plays Danny Parker, a jazz trumpeter who infiltrates a group of crystal meth addicts and becomes one himself in an attempt to avenge the senseless death of his wife which they caused.
Born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Kilmer is one of three sons born to Gladys and Eugene Kilmer, the others being older brother Mark and younger brother Wesley. When Val was 17 and just about to start study as the youngest student ever admitted to the Juilliard School of Fine Arts in New York, Wesley tragically drowned in the family's own swimming pool. Recently, Kilmer and director D. J. Caruso explored the theme of loss together in their film release The Salton Sea. Caruso also lost a brother in a tragic accident.
Kilmer's ex-wife is Joanne Whalley, an actress and former lead singer of Cindy & the Saffrons. The two met while working together on the film Willow. They have two children, daughter Mercedes and son Jack.
Kilmer is regarded as "difficult" by some in the industry, such as directors John Frankenheimer (The Island of Doctor Moreau) and Ron Howard (Willow). Frankenheimer reportedly became so angry that he had Kilmer physically escorted from the set, later commenting "At my age there are two things I will never do, climb Mount Everest or work with Val Kilmer ever again!" Many others who have worked with Kilmer consider him a gifted, dedicated artist with whom they would be happy to work again. Many comment on his great enthusiasm, high intelligence, and dedication to both the roles he plays and the projects he is involved with in general, although the adjective "eccentric" continues to surface in descriptions of the actor.
In 2004, Kilmer returned to the theater to play Moses in a Los Angeles musical production of The Ten Commandments produced by BCBG founder Max Azria. The production, which was not a critical success, played the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Recently, Kilmer was in negotiations with Richard Dutcher (God's Army, Brigham City) for the lead role in his 2005 film . He was initially cast in the part and was excited about playing the Mormon church founder, but had to back out due to other acting obligations.
- Top Secret! (1984)
- Real Genius (1985)
- One Too Many (TV) (1985)
- Top Gun (1986)
- The Murder in the Rue Morgue (TV) (1986)
- The Man Who Broke 1000 Chains (TV) (1987)
- Willow (1988)
- Hamlet (Colorado Shakespeare Festival) (1988)
- Kill Me Again (1989)
- Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid (TV) (1989)
- The Doors (1991)
- Thunderheart (1992)
- Tis Pity She's A Whore (Joseph Papp Public Theatre, New York) (1992)
- The Real McCoy (1993)
- True Romance (1993)
- Tombstone (1993)
- Wings of Courage (IMAX) (1995)
- Dead Girl (1995)
- Batman Forever (1995)
- Heat (1995)
- The Island of Doctor Moreau (1996)
- The Ghost & the Darkness (1996)
- The Saint (1997)
- Africa Unbottled (TV documentary) (1998)
- The Prince of Egypt (1998)
- At First Sight (1999)
- Joe the King (1999)
- Red Planet (2000)
- Pollock (2000)
- Run For the Money (TV) (2002)
- The Salton Sea (2002)
- Wonderland (2003)
- Spartan (2004)
- Mindhunters (2004)
- Alexander (2004)
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