Bad things happen to good people. That’s one of those little troubling facts that none of us are excited about, but what can you do?
Nothing can shield you from having to deal with many of life’s speed bumps, hurdles, and calamities. Money, power, prestige –all of these things can definitely add to one’s quality of life. They can’t put a stop to hardships like health problems.
Sure, wealthy people tend to have access to superior healthcare facilities, services, and procedures. That doesn’t mean their bank accounts act as some kind of magical panacea to ward off all unwelcome diagnoses.
Actor Val Kilmer knows this truth all too well,
Val is famous for his roles such as Top Gun, The Doors, Tombstone, John Holmes in Wonderland, and Alexander. And as of 2022, he’s got an estimated net worth of $25 million. There’s no denying his success. Compare to us, little people, he deals with plenty of things that are completely outside of his realm of control.
In the last several years, he plagues by serious health concerns. As a result, he lost his natural speaking voice. If he can use his money and connections to heal himself and get his old life back, he will. But he knows that isn’t possible.
Fortunately, however, advances in technology have recently given Kilmer something of a second chance in life. 50 years ago, he destines to spend the remainder of his life struggling to express himself. As such, his acting career would most assuredly be over.
Join Facts Verse as we discover how Val Kilmer gets his voice back after throat cancer and what it means for his future career prospects.
How Kilmer Lost His Voice
For movie stars, there is virtually nothing worse that could happen to them than losing their voice. Many actors’ and actresses’ voices end up being their bread and butter. Can you imagine what would become of their careers if people like Samuel L. Jackson or Morgan Freeman lost the ability to speak?
Val Kilmer shocked the world in 2017 when he announces that he diagnoses with throat cancer. He denies the persistent rumors that he is in ill health. At that point, there is nothing else he can do but be honest with his fans.
In 2015, he had been hospitalized for what his reps said were just tests for a possible tumor. He posts on social media that he didn’t have a tumor nor does he needs any kind of operation.
While in retrospect, it looks pretty likely that he is aware of what he is dealing with at the time. No one can blame the guy for wanting to keep his private medical care out of the public spotlight.
In December 2017, it reports that Kilmer experiences a long, arduous two-year battle with throat cancer. He receives a procedure done on his trachea that ends up reducing his voice to little more than a rasp.
We further learned that he had to undergo chemotherapy and two tracheotomies. Kilmer now has to plug a stoma in his trachea in order to speak.
In 2020, Kilmer gives us all some very good news when he announces that he is cancer-free for four years. He reveals that he is no longer able to eat and uses a feeding tube to nourish himself.
While that is troubling to hear, we’re pleased to know that Kilmer is no longer dealing with cancer – for now.
In 2020, Kilmer published his book, I’m Your Huckleberry. A Memoir, which details some of his ordeals in addition to various musings about his life and upbringing. The following year, the documentary Val released, covers his life as never-before-seen archival footage that he films himself. In that critically acclaimed film, we got a chance to listen to what Kilmer’s voice sounded like post-cancer.
To hear his raspy, uneasy – especially when comparing his vocal delivery in his previous films – is nothing short of painful. It’s clear that Kilmer never is able to accomplish what he gets in his younger years before his throat cancer. Or at least, that’s what we all thought.
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Technology For The Win!
It’s times like these that confirm that we are definitely living in the future!
With the help of UK-based software firm Sonantic, Val Kilmer can now speak once again with the voice we all know and love.
Sonantic uses AI to clone voices. Advances in machine learning technologies have done what many thoughts was impossible just a few years ago. The company released a brief clip with its initial results in August of 2021. And we’ve just got to come and say it. What they’ve managed to achieve through technology is nothing short of a miracle!
In the clip, Kilmer saw speaking with the AI computer-assisted voice. He explained that his voice, as he knew it, was taken from him, which led the people around him to struggle to understand what he was saying. He went on to express how frustrating this had been for him, especially since he still felt like the same person he’s always been.
Kilmer then explained how he was now able to express himself again. He could bring the creative ideas that were swirling around his mind to those willing to listen while showing them a part of himself again that was, as he put it, ‘never truly gone, but rather just ‘hiding away’.
Kilmer played an active role in the development of the AI prototype. He closely worked with Sonantic to provide archive recordings of his voice to create the model.
In a statement that he shared with the media outlet The Wrap, Kilmer expressed his gratitude to the entire team of Sonantic, who was able to masterfully restore his voice in a way that he never thought possible. Val continued by saying that the chance to narrate his story in a voice that felt both authentic and familiar was an ‘incredibly special gift’.
Sonantic’s AI recreation of Val Kilmer’s voice came shortly after the documentary film Val was released. While his new voice wasn’t featured in the documentary, it’s now fully conceivable that the Top Gun actor will be able to make use of the AI voice on both a personal and professional level however he pleases.
A New Lease On Life
It must feel so incredibly fantastic to be given a second chance at life in the way that Val Kilmer has. Many people diagnosed with throat cancer end up dying from the disease. Still yet, those that do manage to pull through end up losing many of the ‘quality of life’ features that they once probably took for granted.
Now that Kilmer has beaten the odds and overcome cancer, he’s not going to take anything for granted ever again. In a blink of an eye, life as we know it can change in ways that we couldn’t possibly anticipate. Losing one’s voice is just one of the many terrible things that can happen to us when we least expect it.
But now that Kilmer has been his voice back and his throat cancer is in the rear-view mirror, he wants to count his blessing and use his experiences to better the lives of others. In a Tweet posted in March of 2022, Kilmer shared that he his starting an artistic community that he is calling Kamp Kilmer.
In the Tweet, Val stated that he had been an artist of various mediums for more than half a century and that after surviving cancer, he feels reinvigorated to express his creative spirit. He now wants to share that spirit with others.
After finding a large studio in Hollywood, he’s devoted himself to creating a space where ‘artists, musicians, muses and collectors’ can gather to celebrate creativity. While the pandemic temporarily stifled his plans for his new community, he still believes that he will prevail with his plans.
Kilmer went on to say that he had been dreaming of creating such a space since back when he was living in the wilderness in New Mexico.
Val wants Kamp Kilmer to be a destination where creative minds can convene to express themselves in innovative and exciting ways while contributing to the evolution of the arts through connectivity and technology.
Kilmer says that those interested in joining his community can reach out to him through Discord.
Kilmer Found Solace Through Art – And So Can You!
After battling throat cancer and losing his voice, Kilmer found much solace and comfort in art. As a veteran actor, Val knows just how powerful and healing art can be.
In addition to receiving treatment, Val firmly believes that one of the best things cancer patients can do is tap into their passions and talents. Some may choose to do this through creative outlets like singing, dancing, crafting, or painting, but regardless of what those outlets may be, they can be remarkably therapeutic and even healing.
Art can help people come to grips with feelings of grief after suffering a cancer-related loss. This is true both for people living with cancer as well as their loved ones.
Not only does art offer a degree of physical healing power, but it’s also extraordinarily beneficial for people’s mental health. This has been well-documented and proven by countless medical studies.
One such study published in The Journal of the American Art Therapy Association in 2016 suggests that as little as one hour of creative activity can drastically reduce stress and result in a positive effect on one’s mental health. That’s true regardless of your talent or experience level.
Isn’t it wonderful to see how well Val Kilmer is doing these days? Just a couple of years ago, it was hard to imagine Kilmer’s career recovering after his cancer diagnosis and the subsequent loss of his voice. But now it seems like Val is more motivated and capable than ever!
We can’t wait to see how his ambitious Kamp Kilmer project pans out!
We’re also excited to finally watch the long-anticipated film Top Gun: Maverick which is slated to hit theaters on May 27, 2022. In it Kilmer will be reuniting with his Top Gun co-star Tom Cruise playing Admiral Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky in what’s looking to be one of the biggest films of the year.
Did you think that Val Kilmer would ever get his voice back, or did you think that he would be forced to leave his acting career behind after his battle with throat cancer? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section down below.
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