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Val Kilmer’s Children Give Update on Grueling Cancer Recovery

All things considered, Val Kilmer is doing as well as can be expected after his bout with throat cancer.

Kilmer’s daughter, Mercedes, and son, Jack recently gave an update about their actor dad’s health, just about five years after beating the disease that left him with many long-term complications.

Mercedes, who’s now 29, says that Val is doing well despite the fact that he is still recovering. According to her, his recovery process has been just as grueling as the actual disease was.

Jack, who’s 26, has shared that everyone in their family’s orbit and beyond has been exceptionally supportive of his father’s recovery. He added that it makes him emotional seeing so many people come together to support Val.

Kilmer revealed that he had cancer in April of 2017 after years of speculation that he might be ill. Later that year, he detailed how the diagnosis had changed him. Val explained that he was previously too serious for his own good. He shared that he would get upset when things like Oscars and other recognitions failed to come his way.

Mercedes and Jack have followed in their father’s footsteps by becoming actors as well. They also had a hand in the production of Amazon’s recently released documentary about their dad ‘Val’ which premiered at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival in July and hit the Prime Video streaming service earlier this month.

Jack spoke for his father in the film as Kilmer’s voice was left severely impaired by the extensive radiation and chemotherapy that he underwent during treatment. In the film, he explained that he is still recovering and that it is difficult for him to talk and to be understood.

‘Val’ features home videos and several revelations, including that Kilmer didn’t want to do ‘Top Gun’ but was under contract with the studio leaving him no other choice but to do it.

Mercedes told Entertainment Tonight that the documentary about her father left her feeling very emotional. While nothing in it surprised her, as her dad has always been a very open person, something about watching the film with an audience apparently made her grateful that the public was finally seeing the side of her father that she always wanted them to. She felt like people had previously misunderstood what kind of man Val was. She was so used to his public image being different than the playful, funny person that she and her brother know.

While it’s wonderful to hear from Val’s kids and to learn that he’s doing relatively well at the present moment, let’s take a look back at his life and career to get a better idea of what sort of individual he really is and where he came from.

But before we take a look back at Kilmer’s storied life, we just want to remind you to give this video a like and subscribe to Facts Verse to keep up with all of our facts-filled content.

And don’t go anywhere just yet. Stay tuned to find out what exciting new film is coming out later this year that Val Kilmer fans everywhere are eagerly anticipating.

Val Kilmer: The Making Of A Star

Val Kilmer was born Val Edward Kilmer on December 31, 1959, in Los Angeles, California. His mother was Gladys Swanette Ekstadt, and his father was Eugene Dorris Kilmer, a real estate developer and aerospace equipment distributor.

Ever since he was a child, it was always very clear to Kilmer’s parents that he was had a natural talent for performing and possessed an undeniable gift of charm and charisma. But nobody could have predicted just how big of a star that he would one day become.

Kilmer Was A Bit Of A Prodigy 

Ever since he was a young man, Kilmer had an extremely special talent for acting and performing. And that signature charm and charisma that we just mentioned impressed just about everyone that he came across.

Kilmer started acting when he was still fairly young, taking part in productions while he was still in high school – alongside his buddy and fellow future star, Kevin Spacey.

Neither Kilmer nor Spacey knew at that point just how famous they would ultimately become – nor did they have any foreknowledge of the tragedies that would befall them along their journey.

Tragedy Struck Kilmer’s Family

Val Kilmer is well known for delivering powerful and moving performances as a much applauded dramatic actor, but his personal life has contained quite a bit of tragedy behind the scenes as well.

In 1977, Kilmer’s little brother, Wesley, suddenly passed away after a drowning accident. The entire family was shaken to its core, but Kilmer knew that this meant that he needed to make the most out of every moment in his life because at any given moment it could be taken away from him. Life was both precious and fragile, and he wasn’t about to waste his.

Val Was A Model Student

Even when he was young, Kilmer already knew that he wanted to make a career out of acting. So, he spent the remainder of his high school years at the Hollywood Professional School. This school provided education to kids already working in show business, operating only in the mornings so that students had the afternoons free to attend auditions and hone their craft with their mentors while balancing their performing lives with their studies.

After graduating from high school, Kilmer was accepted at the prestigious Julliard School in New York City – a private conservatory for the performing arts. Kilmer was in fact the youngest student in the history of Julliard to ever be accepted into their drama division.

Having secured a place at this incredibly selective and world-famous school, it was only a matter of time before Val would become a star. But that’s not to say that Kilmer’s time at Julliard was without its struggles.

Kilmer Learned Some Tough Life Lessons

Although Julliard is one of the most renowned schools for training young actors and performers on the planet, the truth was that Kilmer found the academy to be an incredibly difficult place to excel. They placed what he felt was a ludicrous amount of importance on things like voice training, requiring their students to do endless hours of vocal exercises.

Young Kilmer resented the authoritarian way the school was run and wanted to do his own thing and not worry too much about things like voice training.

But what he didn’t know back then was just how valuable this skill would prove to be later on in life.

Despite having philosophical disagreements with how the school operated and how his instructors treated him, Kilmer nevertheless learned a great deal there and graduated with even more skill in acting than he already had as a natural performer.

After Julliard, Kilmer began exploring the New York theater scene where he slowly began to make a name for himself with a series of successful and well-reviewed stage performances.

Kilmer’s Breakout Role And Early Successes

Kilmer made his film debut in 1984 in the spy spoof comedy Top Secret where he starred as blond rock idol Nick Rivers. He went on to star in a number of films throughout the 1980s including 1986’s smash hit Top Gun.

Despite being an obviously talented actor with incredible range, it wasn’t until his astonishingly authentic portrayal of Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s 1991 film The Doors that the world began to take notice of his abilities.

Drawing from what he reluctantly learned back at Julliard, Kilmer put his baritone voice to use in the movie performing all of the concert pieces. Ever since then, Val has played two more American legends.

He played Elvis Presley in 1993s True Romance and Doc Holliday in 1993s Tombstone. In 1994, it was revealed that Kilmer would be taking over the role of Batman from Michael Keaton.

Beyond Batman

In 1996, Kilmer appeared in the largely forgotten film, Dead Girl, then starred alongside Marlon Brando in the critically scorned film The Island of Dr. Moreau. That same year, Kilmer starred alongside Michael Douglas in the thriller The Ghost and the Darkness. A year later, Kilmer played Simon Templar in the hit film, The Saint. He received a salary of $6 million for doing that film which went on to gross $169 million worldwide.

In 1998, Kilmer voiced Moses in the animated feature The Prince of Egypt. In 1999, he played a blind man in the drama film At First Sight which he later described as being the hardest role of his career.

In 2004, Kilmer portrayed Phillip II of Macedon in Alexander performing alongside actors Angelina Jolie and Colin Farrell. Later he played an FBI agent named Paul Pryzwarra in the 2006 film Deja Vu. Kilmer went on to land notable roles in films like 2008s Conspiracy, 2009s Double Identity, and 2010s The Traveler. At the same time, he voiced the supercar KITT in the reboot of the popular 1980s series Knight Rider.

Kilmer continued to star in films across a broad range of genres, including the comedy MacGruber in 2010, the horror film Twixt in 2011, and the Disney/Pixar animated feature film Planes in 2013. He also played Mark Twain in Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn in 2014 before launching a one-man stage show about the famed humorist and writer.

After taking a brief hiatus from films, Kilmer resurfaced in the romantic drama flick Song to Song and the suspenseful thriller The Snowman in 2017.

In 2020 he got the chance to appear alongside his daughter Mercedes in the film Paydirt. And later this year, the long-anticipated sequel to Top Gun, Top Gun: Maverick will hit theaters with Kilmer reprising his role as Admiral Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky.

We don’t know about you, but we’re really looking forward to that Top Gun reboot. But more than anything, we wish Val and his family the best as he continues to recover from his battle with cancer.

Anyway, before we wrap things up, let us know in the comments section what your favorite Val Kilmer film role was. We over here at Facts Verse have always been partial to his portrayal of Van Morrison in The Doors but maybe you prefer his portrayal of Batman or Mark Twain even. Either way, let us know.

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