Frequently Asked Questions
Val Kilmer
  1. What is Val's real name?

    Val's real name is Val Edward Kilmer. He was named after a business associate of his father. Val has said that he didn't much care for the name growing up, but likes it now because it is unique.

  2. When and where was Val born?

    Val was born on New Year's Eve 1959 in Chatsworth, California (San Fernando Valley of the Los Angeles area).

  3. What are Val's vital statistics?

    Val has green eyes and our best estimate on his natural hair color is dark blonde. His height has been a source of major discussion on Planet Kilmer, but most agree he is approximately 6 feet tall. His least favorite vegetable is stewed tomatoes and his shoe size is 10 1/2. His favorite swimming stroke is the crawl (in case you were wondering) and one of his favorite bands is Led Zeppelin.

  4. What is Val's heritage?

    Val is a mixture of Swedish, German, Mongolian, Cherokee, Scottish, and Irish.

  5. What can you tell me about Val's family?

    Gladys, Val's mother, is a housewife who lives in Arizona. His father, Eugene (an aircraft parts distributor turned real estate developer), passed away while Val was filming Tombstone. His father and mother were divorced when Val was nine. Val has an older brother, Mark, and a younger brother, Wesley, who died in a drowning incident when Val was 17.

    Val was married to English actress Joanne Whalley in March of 1988. The marriage produced two children (Mercedes and Jack). After seven years of marriage, Val and Joanne separated in 1995 and were divorced eight months later. Val is, apparently, a very devoted father and has said that Joanne will always be his wife, because she is the mother of his children.

  6. Who is Val dating now?

    After the break up of his marriage, Val dated super model Cindy Crawford for a time. He then dated Jaycee Gossett for over three years, but most recently has had his name romantically linked in the press to that of Darryl Hanna.

  7. What kind of a child was Val?

    Val claims to have been an adventurous child - kind of wild, spending all of his time racing motocross and surfing (he started surfing when he was 10). At the same time, he was also very shy. His favorite family vacation as a child was when they went to Arizona and New Mexico. He has always loved the desert. He had a paper route and, as a punishment, spent a day counting rivets in his father's warehouse.

  8. Is it true that Val has buffalo as pets?

    Val has buffalo, as well as dogs, cats, llamas, and horses. His first three buffalo were named: Bambi (named by Mercedes as a foal), Jezebel ("because she looked liked a hard-drinking gal, a kind of floozy who's been around"), and James Brown (so named from dancing in the snow, with the icicles giving him dreadlocks).

  9. Does Val smoke?

    In the September 2001 edition of the Santa Fean magazine, Val credited Christian Science for enabling him to finally quit smoking.

  10. Where did Val receive his education? What was his favorite subject?

    Val attended Chatsworth High School in California. His classmates included actress Mare Winningham (whom he dated in high school). His favorite subject in high school was history. He claims not to have been a very good student calling himself "spiritually dyslexic." He devised tricks to remember the things that didn't interest him.

    Val received his BA degree from The Juilliard School of performing arts in New York City where, at the age of 17, he was the youngest student ever admitted to the drama division at that particular time. Val says of his time at Juilliard, "I was never really satisfied at Juilliard. There were things I had to do my own way, even at the risk of getting kicked out. I said, 'Listen, if I get hung up on something and it paralyzes me all day and it makes me obsess on how to do a certain speech or scene, isn't that what the school should be about?' They were right and so was I."

  11. What real-life characters has Val portrayed on film?

    Val has taken on the roles of Doc Holliday (Tombstone) William Bonney (Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid); John Patterson (The Ghost and the Darkness); Robert Elliot Burns (The Man Who Broke 1000 Chains); Jim Morrison (The Doors); Jean Mermoz (Wings of Courage); Elvis (True Romance, although to avoid problems with the Presley estate, the character's name was changed to "Mentor"); Moses and God (animated - The Prince of Egypt); and Virgil Adamson (real name Shirl Jennings - At First Sight); Bob Henry (based on Frank Whaley's father, Robert Whaley) in Joe the King; and William de Kooning in Pollock.

  12. What fictional characters has Val portrayed on film?

    Val has portrayed teen-age alcoholic Eric (One Too Many); rock singer Nick Rivers (Top Secret!); brilliant but eccentric student Chris Knight (Real Genius); cool as ice pilot Iceman (Top Gun); dashing fantasy hero Madmartigan (Willow); down-on-his-luck gumshoe Jack Anderson (Kill Me Again); wanna-be detective Philippe Huron (Murders in the Rue Morgue); Native American FBI agent Ray Levoi (Thunderheart- which was based on a true incident); bungling, loveable thief J.T. Barker (The Real McCoy); totally wacko psychiatrist Dr. Dark (the unreleased in the U.S.A. film Dead Girl); crime fighting superhero Bruce Wayne (Batman Forever); super villain Chris Shiherlis (Heat); the inexplicably odd Montgomery (The Island of Dr. Moreau); and the suave con-man Simon Templar (The Saint).

  13. What movies and plays has Val been in?

    Our Filmography section has a complete list of Val's acting accomplishments.

  14. Which role is Val's favorite?

    In a July 9, 1995 Parade magazine article, Val said he liked being Doc Holliday. He may have a different answer if asked that question today.

  15. What does Val think of himself as an actor?

    Val has said, "There are only three reasons to do a movie: the cast, the director, the role." He goes on to say, "Like I say, you live in a minute of screen time, but to prepare for that minute takes much more than a day. You'd better be excited about what those moments are, even if they're the hardest moments. Or the smallest." In a June 1995 article of Harper's Bazaar magazine, Val calls himself "not a good actor-actor" because he doesn't feel that he can pretend to like costars he doesn't like. He said, "Every year I debate how I can tell stories-- which is how I look at movie acting--in a way that's less taxing for me personally." He added, "I'm not good at this stuff [interviews], or taking pictures, or selling movies, or being in them. And being recognized for them is is excruciatingly painful--to the point that I've done very little work because of it."

  16. What is the name of the piece that Doc plays on the piano in Tombstone?

    The piece is Chopin's Nocturne in E minor, op.72 No1: Andante. Val has said that he doesn't play the piano - that he practiced that one piece for months for the movie.

  17. What is the translation of the Latin duel between Doc and Johnny Ringo in Tombstone?

    The translation is as follows:

    Doc: In vino veritas. (In wine there is truth)
    Johnny: Age quod agis. (Do what you do)
    Doc: Credat Iudaios Atella, non ego. (Let Atella trust the Jews, I will not)
    Johnny: Iuventus stultorum magister. (Youth is the teacher of fools)
    Doc: In pace requiescat. (May he rest in peace)

  18. Is Val involved with any civic activities?

    Val is an ardent supporter of Native American affairs and an advocate of environmental protection. He supports Lead or Leave, a non-partisan youth political awareness campaign, and Habitat for Humanity, an organization that raises money to to construct house for low-income families. In addition, in May of 1998, Val accompanied and assisted the AmeriCares (the international disaster relief organization) mission to Baghdad. The mission carried nearly 90,000 pounds of medicines and medical supplies for the Iraqi people. In 1999 Val continued his support of Native American culture by producing and directing a promotional video for the Native American Preparatory School.

    He also works locally with both Warehouse 21 (a teen center for the arts) and The Wildlife Center in New Mexico. Val not only contributes to both these organizations financially, but he is personally involved and even allows many of the Center's rehabilitated animals to be released on his property.

  19. What does Val do to relax?

    He fishes, goes horseback riding, and reads a lot.

  20. Where does Val live?

    During their married days, Val and Joanne lived on a ranch in New Mexico (where his pet buffalo roam). In an interview since that time Val states that he has bought a larger ranch near there. His home is featured in the April 1998 issue of Architectural Digest. No matter what you read, one fact remains constant: Val is a very private person and appears to prefer a life that is removed from the "Hollywood movers, shakers, and powers-that-be".

  21. Where can I write to Val?

    At the current time, there is no known address to which a fan can write and expect the letter to actually get through to Val Kilmer.

  22. What does Val have to say about all the "bad boy" rumors?

    Val spent most of his time during interviews for The Saint press junket answering these rumors. Val has denied most of them - with the exception of the one involving a locust on the set of Tombstone. Val calls the incident on the set of Moreau, which involved burning a cameraman's face with a lighted cigarette, an accident. Joel Schumacher has made comment after nasty comment regarding Val (of course, this is post-Batman), including the one that Val is "a deeply troubled man in need of psychiatric help." Val responds by saying that Schumacher took his dropping out of the Batman series and his turning down the lead role in Schumacher's next film, A Time To Kill as a reflection on him (Schumacher), which Val says was not.

    There are, in actuality, only two directors who have horror stories to tell about Val Kilmer. On the other side of the coin, there are dozens of actors, directors, and producers who have nothing but high praise for him. Heat director Michael Mann says of Val, "Val gives you nuance piled on nuance. I had a spectacular time working with him." However, it is no secret that Val is very intense and deliberate about his work. He has said, "We learn, the hard way, that you can't change how a film is perceived, I've been out of line on one aspect of the way I approached work because I just hadn't accepted that fact." He has also said, "I am very unhappy when I don't know what I'm doing or not given the facility to find out."

  23. What's next for Val?

    Val's next feature film project, titled The Salton Sea, has Valfans and critics alike eagerly anticipating the film's March 1, 2002 release. In an early script review, Christopher Wehner wrote, "The script is sometimes flat-out hilarious" and "Every time I thought I had firmly grabbed hold of the story by the neck, or felt I was sure I knew what was going to happen, it slipped away and had me guessing." In two separate rough cut screening reviews, columnists for, Moriarty and Mysterio shared a common sentiment, "Val Kilmer nailed it!" In short, they both loved the film. Only time will tell if this independent film (Val seems to have an affinity for indies) by first-time feature director DJ Caruso, will be the great success that early reports seem to indicate. Hopes are certainly high.

    In the spring of 2001, Val went to Hungary to film a movie originally entitled In God We Trust. The title has since been changed to Hard Cash. The film also stars Christian Slater and Darryl Hanna. Emmett/Furla Films and Nittolo Entertainment are the production companies connected with the movie. Helmed by Peter Antonijevic ("Savior"), Hard Cash concerns a crew of ex-cons who find a score that's more than they can handle. The screenplay was penned by Willie Dreyfus.

    The most recent project in Val's future is a crime thriller called Mindhunters. It commenced filming on January 30, 2002 in the Netherlands. According to, Mindhunters concerns a remote island where the FBI has a training program for their psychological profiling division, called Mindhunters used to track down serial killers. The training goes horribly wrong, however, when a group of seven young agents discover that one of them is a serial killer, and is setting about slaying the others. Can the few that are left figure out who the killer is in time?

  24. Does Val have any connection with Planet Kilmer, or do you know him personally?

    Val is not affiliated, and has no connection whatsoever to Planet Kilmer - other than being the subject of our fandom.