Val Edward Kilmer is an American actor. He shot to limlight in the mid 80’s following his roles in the movies Top Secret (1984), and Top Gun (1986).

Val Kilmer, actor & author
Val Kilmer, actor & author

As of 2020 Val Kilmer’s net worth is estimated around $30 million. He makes his money from his works as an actor. Do you know of Val Kilmer’s books, his music, background and upcoming movies? Learn these and much more in the few paragraphs below.

Early Life And Education

Val Kilmer was born on 31 December 1959 in Los Angeles, USA. His parents divorced when he was only 8 years old, and his younger brother drowned in a jacuzzi when Kilmer was only 18. He lost his father in 1993.

Kilmer finished Chatsworth High School which he attended with the likes of Kevin Spacey and Mare Winningham. Later, he attended the Hollywood Professional School and ultimately transferred to Julliard School in New York City as the youngest student at the time at the Drama Division.

Val Kilmer’s Theatre Work

Val Kilmer started his career on the stage while in Julliard School. He co-authored and played in How it all began during the New York Shakespeare Festival. Also, he played with Sean Penn and Kevin Bacon in The Slab Boys in 1983. With time, Kilmer got roles in movies and started a career in Hollywood. This notwithstanding, he continues starring in stage plays such as “Hamlet” at Colorado Shakespeare Festival in 1988, and in the 2004 musical “Ten Commandments: The Musical” in which he featured as Moses.

Val Kilmer playing on stage as Mark Twain
Val Kilmer playing on stage as Mark Twain

Val Kilmer’s most notable movies

Val Kilmer made his movie debut in Top Secret in 1984, and this was a huge breakthrough in his career. His popularity however came with the action movie Top Gun in which he featured as ‘Iceman’ alongside Tom Cruise. The movie was directed by Tony Scott and grossed about $344 million worldwide.

In 1988 he was a cast for the fantasy movie Willow, where he met his wife, the actress Joanne Whalley. They played together again the next year in the movie Kill me again.

Kilmer also featured in the movie The doors which was based on the same name of the rock band and its lead singer, Jim Morrison, and released in 1991. He played Morrison and prepared in detail for this role. For the audition he memorized all the lyrics of the songs, he attended The Doors tribute concerts and read Morrison’s poetry. The songs of the band were combined with Kilmer’s vocal performances and the band’s members praised him for the work.

Two years later he played ‘Elvis Presley’ in the romantic crime movie True Romance, directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino.

Although Batman Forever was a success in 1996, Kilmer took the role without any information about the script and the director. He received mixed reviews for the role and decided not to return for another feature movie reprising the role.

Val Kilmer also played in the action movie The Saint (1997) which was a huge success and earned him a salary of $6 million. Beside the role, he contributed with writing the poetry in the movie.

Movies since 2000

The first few years of the new Millennium, Val Kilmer’s career was at its peak, although some of the movies were a flop. It started with the Warner Bros’ Red Planet. Beside the True Romance, Kilmer co-starred with the actor Christian Slater in 2002 in Hard Cash and in 2004 in the drama Stateside . One year later, he featured in the Kiss kiss bang bang action comedy which received good reviews.

In 2010, Kilmer worked with his friend, Francis Coppola, in the horror movie Twixt. He also played in two movies in 2017 namely; the romantic drama Song to song and the thriller The Snowman. His latest released project is the western movie A soldier’s revenge.

Upcoming Movies

A number of Val Kilmer’s movies are currently in post production. The most notable of them all is Top Gun: Maverick which is a sequel to the 1986 action movie, Top Gun. Two other movies of Kilmer’s which are in post-production and ready to be released anytime this year are Paydirt and The Birthday Cake.

Kilmer Reprising ‘Iceman’ In Top Gun: Maverick

Val Kilmer as Lt. Tom 'Iceman' Kazansky in Top Gun(1986)
Val Kilmer as Lt. Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky in Top Gun(1986)

Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise are the two actors in Top Gun: Maverick who reprise their roles from the main movie, Top Gun, after 34 years. Kilmer reprises his role as Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky in the movie. Iceman is now a four-star admiral and fellow flight instructor with Maverick (Tom Cruise). He is a former rival and friend of the lead character, Maverick, and now serves as chief of Naval Operations.

Top Gun: Maverick is expected to premiere at the end of the year but with rumours of moving to middle of 2021, having previously been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. With the high expectations of the movie, fans hope it would be as highly successful as the its predecessor.

Sources of Wealth

Val Kilmer earns his wealth mostly through acting in movies and at times stage plays. He received $7 million for Batman, $6 million per The Island of Dr.Moreau ànd The Saint. In 2011 Kilmer sold his ranch in New Mexico for which he received $18.5 million.

Val Kilmer’s Books

Val Kilmer wrote a book of poetry titled My Edens after burns in 1983. The poems were inspired by his co-acting with Michelle Pfeiffer in One too many, an educational episode about drinking and driving as part of the ABC Afterschool Special. Earlier this year, he published I’m Your Huckleberry: A Memoir, an autobiography revealing many interesting things about his life and career.


Kilmer’s first big role in the action comedy, Top Secret, as a rock & roll star resulted in an album released under his character’s name, ‘Nick Rivers’. He sang all songs in the movie. In 2007 he released another CD and donated all the earnings to charity. The American band ‘Bowling For Soup’ released a song in 2006 “Val Kilmer” named after the actor, which was later used for a Ford Motors commercial.

Val Kilmer Personal Life/ Relationships

Val Kilmer became a ladies’ man soon after starting his acting career. He was not just dating many women, but was essentially dating women older than him like Ellen Barkin and Cher.

Kilmer with his two children, Jack and Mercedes
Kilmer with his two children, Jack and Mercedes

Kilmer got married to the actress, Joanne Whalley, shortly after he met her and they have two children – a daughter in 1991 and a son in 1995. A month after their son was born, Whalley filed for divorce on grounds of irreconcilable differences. Meanwhile, Kilmer dated very famous women, among which are the super model Cindy Crawford, the actresses Daryl Hanna, Angelina Jolie, the reality star, Paris Hilton, as well as producer Jaycee Gossett.

Kilmer’s marriage to actress Joanne Whalley lasted for 8 years. Their two children, now adults, are pursuing acting career just like their parents. Although he was considered as one of Hollywood’s hottest star in the past and dated many famous women, Kilmer confessed in his memoir that he hasn’t had a girlfriend in two decades.

During his battle with throat cancer, one of his former girlfriends, Cher, helped him and took care of him while he underwent treatment. He is better now and has been cancer-free for years


In 2010 Val Kilmer received an honorary doctorate from William Woods University, Missouri for his contribution to theatre and art. Two years later he received a nomination for Best Spoken Word at Grammy Awards. He has also received various awards and nominations for his roles in various movies.

Actor Val Kilmer
Actor Val Kilmer

Health Condition

Rumors of Val Kilmer’s ill-health started in 2015, although he denied them until 2017 when he confirmed that he was healing of cancer. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that it was a throat cancer and the trachea procedure reduced his voice and breath. In his memoir, Kilmer revealed that Cher took care of him when he was in bad shape during the recovery process, confirming that they stayed friends despite their relationship in the past.

Charity Work

Following the Hurricane Katrina disaster of 2005, Val Kilmer traveled to New Orleans to volunteer help. Four years later, he played roles in two movies in connection with the Hurricane Katrina. In the first movie titled Streets of Blood, he played a detective alongside Sharon Stone and 50 Cent. The second movie was Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans in which he featured alongside Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes.

Kilmer can be seen often at charity events. Last year he spoke at United Nations and was honored for his work at TwainMania Foundation which educates children based on Mark Twain’s books. He also appeared at charity basketball game in Los Angeles.

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I’m Your Huckleberry: A Memoir

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