Happy birthday, Val Kilmer! The actor turns 57 years old today.
Born in Los Angeles back in 1959, Kilmer was raised by his parents Gladys and Eugene before they eventually divorced. When he was a child, Kilmer experienced several losses when his younger brother drowned in 1997 before Kilmer’s father passed years later in 1993. During his childhood, Kilmer found he had an interest in theater and began attending the Hollywood Professional School. The actor was also the youngest person to be admitted to Julliard School’s Drama program at the time of his audition.
Kilmer started his professional acting career in the 1980s thanks to a slew of stage plays. He started in performances of How It All Began and The Slab Boys before he got his big break on screen. Kilmer hit it big after he was cast in the comedy Top Secret!, but then he followed the role up with a short break. When Kilmer returned, he starred in the comedy Real Genius before joining Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
In the 1990s, Kilmer returned to Hollywood in the biopic The Doors which was inspired by the band of the same name. The actor played Jim Morrison, and he famously studied the rockstar in-depth for the role. However, fans will most likely recognize Kilmer for his short stint playing Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman.
In December 1993, Kilmer impressed director Joel Schumacher with his work in Tombstone and was his first choice. Kilmer then donned the hero’s cowl in Batman Forever following Michael Keaton’s leave. While critics were mixed in their reception of Batman Forever, the movie was a box office hit, and Kilmer elected to leave the franchise before 1997’s Batman & Robin bombed at theaters.
In recent years, Kilmer has rolled back his acting career in favor of other pursuits. In 2012, he received a Grammy for Best Spoken Word and has since starred in projects like Planes and Psych.
Happy birthday, Val Kilmer!