Val Kilmer is a
Hollywood actor who starred in a number of big movies throughout the
1980s and 1990s until his career hit the skids as he allegedly feuded
with movie producers and started gorging on fatty foods.
Kilmer was born in Los Angeles, California on December 31, 1959. Kilmer had a passion for acting in his youth and was accepted into the Juilliard School's Drama Division at the age of 17, the youngest person at the time to be accepted into that Division. In 1981, while at Julliard, Kilmer co-authored and starred in a play entitled "How It All Began," which was performed at the Public Theater at the New York Shakespeare Festival.
Kilmer's missed his first shot at stardom in in the early 1980s when he turned down a role in Francis Ford Coppola's 1983 cult classic, The Outsiders. In 1983 he appeared Off Broadway in The Slab Boys with Kevin Bacon and Sean Penn. Later in 1983 Kilmer had his first off-stage acting role other than television commercials when he appeared in this After School Special entitled One Too Many, an educational drama on drinking and driving which also starred a young Michelle Pfeiffer:
Kilmer's big break came in 1984 when he appeared in the slapstick hit comedy movie, Top Secret!, where he played an American rock and roll star. Kilmer sang all the songs in the film and released an album under the film character's name, "Nick Rivers."
Kilmer followed up with another starring role in the moderately successful 1985 comedy, Real Genius, where he played a genius college student working on a chemical laser. In 1986 Kilmer's star rocketed even higher when he appeared as "Iceman" in the smash hit, Top Gun, where he played a Navy fighter pilot.
Kilmer must have thought that he was on top of the world during the mid-1980s as he was appearing in hit movies and was making a name for himself. Kilmer also became somewhat of a Hollywood sex symbol, dating famous celebrities such as Cher and Ellen Barkin.
Kilmer closed out the 1980s appearing in the somewhat-disappointing Willow, the flop Kill Me Again, and the TV movie, Billy the Kid. Kilmer starred as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's 1991 biopic, The Doors. The Doors received mixed reviews, although Kilmer's acting was praised. However, Kilmer exhibited diva-like behavior on the set of The Doors when a memo linked to Kilmer circulated among cast and crew members listing rules of how the actor was to be treated for the duration of principal photography. The rules allegedly indicated that people being forbidden to approach him on the set without good reason, he was not to be addressed by his own name while he was in character, and no one was allowed to "stare" at him on the set. Director Oliver Stone was reportedly livid when he found out about the memo.
Kilmer followed up with a supporting role in the cult classic True Romance, and with his well-received portrayal of Doc Holliday in Tombstone in 1993. Kilmer also co-starred in the 1995 hit crime thriller, Heat, where he played a bank robber. Kilmer also starred as Bruce Wayne/Batman in the 1995 hit, Batman Forever. Kilmer reportedly feuded with director Joel Schumacher during the filming of Batman Forever.“Schumacher claimed that Kilmer was irrational and ballistic with the first assistant director, the cameraman, and the costume people. Schumacher also stated that Kilmer "was rude and inappropriate. He was childish and impossible. I was forced to tell him that this would not be tolerated for one more second. Then we had two weeks where he did not speak to me but it was bliss!"
Kilmer subsequently starred in the 1996 big budget movie, The Island of Dr. Moreau, which was an utter flop. Veteran director John Frankenheimer reportedly got into a heated argument with Kilmer on-set, which earned Kilerma a reputation for being difficult to work with. Regarding the incident, Frankenheimer stated, "I don't like Val Kilmer, I don't like his work ethic, and I don't want to be associated with him ever again". Director Frankenheimer also stated, "There are two things I will never ever do in my whole life. The first is that I will never climb Mt. Everest. The second is that I will never work with Val Kilmer ever again." After Kilmer completed his final scene during filming, Frankenheimer reportedly said to the crew "Now get that bastard off my set."
Kilmer also starred in the 1996 historical adventure film, The Ghost and the Darkness, where he played a hunter hired to kill man-eating lions in Africa. The film was somewhat of a failure and film critic Roger Ebert said at the time that the film was awful. Kilmer was nominated for a Razzie Award for "Worst Supporting Actor" for his role. Kilmer closed out the 1990s with starring roles in 1997 hit, The Saint, and the 1999 flop, At First Sight.
The new millennium, however, was unkind to Kilmer as he starred in the 2000 Mars box office disaster, Red Planet. Red Planet was all but a career-killer for Kilmer as the film had a budget of $80 million, get only received about $33 million in revenue at the box office.
Kilmer has continued working since 2000 but his big roles have all but evaporated. Many of the movies in which he has appeared in recent years have been straight-to-video flicks, such as Played or 10th and Wolf. Kilmer has managed, however, to obtain roles in some reasonably successful movies, the most notable of which was the 2006 flick, Deja Vu, where he played an FBI agent. Kilmer has also appeared in movies such as MacGruber, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans, and voiced K.I.T.T. in the reboot of Knight Rider in 2008-09.
Kilmer's box office struggles have coincided with massive weight gain as he has completely let himself go. I saw Deja Vu in a theather when it was first released in 2006 and was shocked when I saw Kilmer as he had morphed from the thin or fit man I remembered into a barely recognizable fat slice of hog meat! Kilmer literally looked as though he must have gained 50-75 lbs of pure body fat between 2000, when he was in Red Planet, and 2006, when he was in Deja Vu.
Kilmer has gained so much weight that it actually seems as though he has been pigeon-holed into appearing solely in fat-guy roles. He played a big fat prisoner in 2008's Felon, so I suppose that his borderline obesity has helped him in some regards although he is clearly just a shadow of the sex symbol he once was.
Val Kilmer was once a huge star commanding nearly 8-figures for starring movie roles. However. his career hit the skids either as a result of box office fatigue or his diva-like behavior on movie sets. Rather than plowing himself into his craft, Kilmer apparently chose instead to gorge on fatty foods, as he morphed into a borderline-obese man. Although Kilmer has reportedly lost some weight during the past couple years, he is still fat enough to rival Dennis Haskins or Kirstie Alley for the obesity crown of the Washed Up Celebrities blog. It's a shame as in my opinion, Kilmer really is a talented actor, although things have gotten so bad for him that he's practically begging to appear in sequels to Top Gun and Heat in an effort to reboot his career. Therefore, as discussed above, there can be no doubt that Val Kilmer is one washed-up celebrity!