Horror History: Happy Birthday, Val Kilmer!

On this day in horror history, Val Kilmer was born in Los Angeles, California in 1959. Vilmer is best known for his roles in classics such as Tombstone, Top Gun, and Batman Forever. But we all know him for his roles in genre fare such as The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Ghost and the Darkness.

Kilmer attended High School with Kevin Spacey and became the youngest person at the time to be accepted into the Juilliard School’s Drama Division. His big break came with the lead in the spy spoof Top Secret!. He turned down David Lynch’s Blue Velvet before being cast as “Iceman” in Top Gun with Tom Cruise.

Top Gun made Kilmer a major star. Kilmer followed that role up with Madmartigan in Willow where met his future wife, Joanne Whalley. He then played Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone’s The Doors. He followed that role up with the mystery thriller Thunderheart. And then reteamed with Top Gun director Tony Scott to play Elvis Presley in the Quentin Tarantino-scripted crime classic True Romance.

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In 1993, Kilmer played Doc Holliday in Tombstone. Director Joel Schumacher watched the film and felt Vilmer to be perfect for Batman Forever. Kilmer didn’t return for Batman and Robin, feeling The Dark Knight was being marginalized in favor of the villains. Instead, he starred in Heat with Al Pacino and Robert De Niro.

In 1996 he starred alongside Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr Moreau and Michael Douglas in the killer lion thriller The Ghost and the Darkness.

Other notable roles include The Saint, Red Planet, The Salton Sea, The Missing, Spartan, Alexander, Mindhunters, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Déjà Vu, and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. He played John Holmes in Wonderland and the villain, Dieter Von Cunth, in MacGruber. Most recently he cameoed as himself / Reboot Bluntman in writer-director Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob Reboot. Up next he returns as Admiral Tom “Iceman” Kazansky in Top Gun: Maverick.

What’s your favorite Val Kilmer movie?

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