Val Edward Kilmer was born on December 31, 1959 in Los Angeles, California. Kilmer is the son of Gladys (née Ekstadt) and Eugene Kilmer, an aerospace equipment distributor and real estate developer. He grew up in the San Fernando Valley with older brother Mark and younger brother Wesley [1962–1977], who died at 15 due to an epileptic seizure in a swimming pool. His parents divorced when he was nine years old. His father passed away while Val was filming Tombstone. The poet Joyce Kilmer [1886-1918] is a distant cousin of Kilmer. Kilmer attended Berkeley Hall School, a Christian Science school in Los Angeles, until 9th grade. He then attended Chatsworth High School 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).
Originally a stage actor, Kilmer 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 the blockbuster action film “Top Gun” (1986) and the swords and sorcery fantasy film “Willow” (1988).
Some of his notable film roles include Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's “The Doors” (1991), Doc Holliday in the Western “Tombstone” (1993), armed robber Chris Shiherilis in Michael Mann's crime saga “Heat” (1995), Bruce Wayne/Batman in Joel Schumacher's “Batman Forever” (1995), Simon Templar in “The Saint” (1997) and a meth-using informant in the 2002 crime thriller “The Salton Sea”.
Kilmer’s lone Euro-western was playing a corpse in “Dead Man’s Bounty” (2006).
Today we celebrate Val Kilmer’s 55th birthday.
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