Val Kilmer was born in Los Angeles, to Gladys (Ekstadt) and Eugene Kilmer, a real estate developer and aerospace equipment distributor. His mother, born in Indiana, was from a Swedish family, and his father was from Texas. Val studied at Hollywood's Professional's School and, in his teens, entered Juilliard's drama program. His professional acting career began on stage, and he still participates in theater; he played Hamlet at the 1988 Colorado Shakespeare Festival. His film debut was in the 1984 spoof Top Secret! (1984), wherein he starred as blond rock idol Nick Rivers. He was in a number of films throughout the 1980s, including the 1986 smash Top Gun (1986). Despite his obvious talent and range, it wasn't until his astonishingly believable performance as Jim Morrison in Oliver Stone's The Doors (1991) that the world sat up and took notice. Kilmer again put his good baritone to use in the movie, performing all of the concert pieces. Since then, he has played two more American legends, Elvis Presley in True Romance (1993) and Doc Holliday in Tombstone (1993). In July 1994, it was announced that Kilmer would be taking over the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne fromMichael Keaton.
mini bio taken from IMDB
Out of the 91 credits that Mr. Kilmer has listed on IMDB the one that always stands out as my favorite was the first one I saw. In 1985 I was 9 years old and had started going to the movies unaccompanied by an adult. I didn't really care what I watching it just felt cool to be in that huge darkened theater alone. I felt like a grown up, with my popcorn and soda. No adults were there to tell me that I was putting on too much salt or we didn't have time to play the Tron video game. I made plenty of mistakes that summer, I thought The Trip to Bountiful was about a bounty hunter, keep in mind I was 9, but one of the ones I got right was Real Genius.
The moment Chris Knight (Kilmer) stepped on screen I was transfixed. I had never seen/heard anything like him before. He was a rare combination of smug, charming, funny and brilliant. Most of the humor was above my head but I was curious. A line that comes to mind is when Kinght says "we only had one entry into the Madame Curie look-alike contest and he was disqualified." I had no idea who Madame Curie was but I looked it up when I got home. I understood the joke but once I had a better understanding of Madame Curie, I thought the joke was brilliant. Again, I was 9. The film has held up nicely over the last 29 years, granted its certainly a product of the time it was made but I think it adds to the overall charm of the film. This is one of those films that is a must own for me. VHS? Yeah I had it. DVD? Of course. Laserdisc? You betcha. BluRay? Well shit, looks like there is a hole in my collection, something I will remedy immediately.