Val Kilmer

       
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Real Name: Val Kilmer
Birthday: December 31, 1959
Place of Birth: Los Angeles, CA
Education: Hollywood Professional School Hollywood, CA; The Juilliard School, New York, NY (drama)

 

Val Kilmer Biography and Filmography:

Described by some as Hollywood's most hard to work with leading man, Val Kilmer also has his share of supporters to offset the mass of his detractors. An actor of many styles, he steered his own career path, passing on smash hits like "Blue Velvet" (1986), "Dirty Dancing" (1987), "In the Line of Fire" and "Indecent Proposal" (1993), while choosing to live outside the Hollywood community, first in New York and later in New Mexico, did not help to make the most of on his breakout triumph in "Top Gun" (1986).

Kilmer caught the Hollywood bug at a young age, becoming the youngest student at that time to train for the stage at the Julliard School, where he and his friends wrote and performed their own productions. Theatre work followed, before his Broadway debut opposite Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon in "The Slab Boys" (1983). 

Soon after, he started with movies and films, first as the full of life young teen idol singing "Skeet Surfing" and other songs in the spy adventure flick parody "Top Secret!" (1984). He secured his celebrity status as the nutty inventor of "Real Genius" (1985), showing that he could be cool and sexy, and still be a bright student. He them upstaged Tom Cruise and Meg Ryan  in "Top Gun", playing Tom 'Iceman' Kazansky, the egotistical F-14 pilot whose technical skills surpass those of his peers.

His next few projects did not do well at the box office, as the first hints of him as a "difficult" actor began to surface. He displayed a panache for fantasy heroics as the lead in Ron Howard's "Willow" (1988), a fantasy from producer George Lucas. His leading lady was his future wife Joanne Whalley, and the pair also co-starred in "Kill Me Again" (1989), a spoof of film noir. He gained more awareness for his role as tortured singer Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's biopic "The Doors" (1991), providing his own vocals during filming and on the soundtrack. 

He next starred in Michael Apted's "Thunderheart" (1992), a crime drama about a FBI agent who must confront his heritage while probing a murder on an Oglala Sioux Indian reservation. Part Cherokee in real life, the actor was at first unhappy with the story and kept arguing with executives, driving the director crazy with ideas during the production. He got his career back on a track with a role as the gunfighter Doc Holliday, stealing the limelight from Kurt Russell's Wyatt Earp while making tuberculosis seem romantic in the surprise hit Western "Tombstone". 

Val also gave a quirky portrayal of Elvis in "True Romance" (1993) with Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Brad Pitt and Samuel L. Jackson before finally graduating to the A-list sexy celebrity list when selected by Joel Schumacher to succeed the departing Michael Keaton as the Caped Crusader in "Batman Forever" (1995) with Drew Barrymore and Nicole Kidman. Pitted against famous scene stealers Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones, he brought a more straight forward and fatherly quality to the best sequel of the Batman franchise, a blockbuster earning over $225 million worldwide.

Kilmer went on to violate standard sexy star protocol by accepting a supporting role as a professional thief working with Robert De Niro and chased by Al Pacino in "Heat", a Michael Mann-directed police film that captivated audiences. Schumacher allowed the actor out of his contract to play Batman, replacing him with George Clooney for "Batman & Robin" (1997).

In  "The Ghost and the Darkness" (1996) with Michael Douglas, the star again showed his range as an actor. His love for casually slipping into different voices and personalities led him to choose the role of Simon Templar in, "The Saint" (1997), instead of another role as Batman. 

By 1999, after lending his voice to Moses in DreamWorks animated feature "The Prince of Egypt" (1998) with Michelle Pfieffer and Sandra Bullock, he tried to put his bad boy image behind him by playing the loving dad to his two children for journalists and moving from Hollywood to Pecos, New Mexico, during promotion for the movie "At First Sight," where he played a blind man in love with Mira Sorvino whose life is turned upside down when his sight is restored. 

The actor was next cast in a well used role when he took the lead as an astronaut on Mars in the science fiction movie "Red Planet" working with Benjamin Bratt (2000). By the time he started work on the adventure thriller "The Salton Sea" (2002), which starts with the murder of his characters wife at the Salton Sea and continues into the sleazy sections of Los Angeles where he becomes tangled, physically and mentally, in bad business, the actor confessed that his reputation preceded him and caused unnecessary problems with his fellow actors. 

He returned to the public eye with his portrayal of 1970's and '80s pornography and smut sex king John C. "Johnny Wadd" Holmes for the drama "Wonderland" with sexy appearances from Christina Applegate and Paris Hilton (2003), based on the porn sex actor's involvement in the drug related murders on Los Angeles' Wonderland Avenue in 1981. He was great in his drugged and delusional role as the morally repulsive porn king.

After receiving good reviews as a radical government agent trying to recover a politicians kidnapped daughter in the crime drama "Spartan" (2004), Kilmer was hired to star as Moses in a controversial stage musical version of "The Ten Commandments" in 2004, a show that seemed to some as having the appearance of a Hollywood lampoon. The staff was asked to cut back performances for rework following cynical reviews. Meanwhile, he had a brief role in “Mindhunters” with Christian Slater (2005), playing an FBI instructor who sends a team of agents for an exercise that turns much too real. Also in 2004, he co-starred along side Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie in Oliver Stone's "Alexander" playing King Philip, the father of Alexander the Great.

The infamous star atone for himself with an enjoyable role as a gay, but tough private detective who finds himself in an dubious partnership with a small time thief (Robert Downey Jr.) in the film "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang" (2005). Another western followed with "Summer Love" (2006) about a small village that suddenly becomes a very dangerous place when a foreigner appears with a wanted man. Then he starred with Denzel Washington in the action adventure "Deja Vu" (2006) about an ATF agent who travels back in time to save a woman from being murdered, falling in love with her during the process. 

He started the next year with the romantic comedy "Have Dreams, Will Travel" (2007) with Lara Flynn Boyle, a nice film set in the 1960's, the magical story of two 12-year-olds embarking on an adventure to find new, cool parents and escape their neglected, overly adult existence. He next starred in the crime thriller "Columbus Day" (2008) about a thief who tries to fix the damage done during the biggest heist of his career. Next was the war drama "Conspiracy" (2008) featuring Jennifer Esposito, about a seasoned senior operative enlisted as a special operations Marine who is wounded during combat operations in Iraq. He then lent his voice talents to the animated children's comedy "Delgo" (2008) working with other talented voices belonging to Jennifer Love Hewitt and Burt Reynolds, the story of an adventurous but naive teenager, who must rally his group of friends to protect their world from conflict between the Lockni and Nohrin people. 

Val next played a family man convicted of killing an intruder who must cope with life afterward in the violent penal system, in the dramatic "Felon" (2008), and wrapped up the year with the comedy "American Cowslip" (2008) about an unconventional, agoraphobic heroin addict who is obsessed with his garden. Next was the action comedy "Streets Of Blood" (2009) with Sharon Stone, about a police officer's whose partner has died during Hurricane Katrina, who later discovers that he may have been murdered. Returning to the western genre he starred in "The Hard Ride" (2009), where action and death follow a legendary gunfighter and his close friends to 1876 Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Next was the strange music hair-band drama "The Dirt" (2009), the story of how Motley Crue came to be one of the most notorious rock 'n roll groups in history. 
 

The jury remains out on the sometimes difficult actor. There are still directors eager to work with him, but they should be ready for a difficult production. On the set of "The Island of Dr. Moreau", his co-star Marlon Brando told him, "You confuse your talent with the size of your paycheck." But according to Kilmer, "Often I have been accused of being difficult, when in fact it's a difficult character that I'm playing.  I work hard. I don't know anybody who's good at their job who doesn't get into trouble."

 

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