Is Val Kilmer still alive? His life and career now

Val Kilmer’s dialogue with Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick formed one of the most memorable scenes in the film. Cruise, the star of Top Gun, refused to appear in a sequel without Kilmer. Despite suffering from health problems, which were highlighted in the movie, Kilmer expertly reprised his role as Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky. 

Another iconic Val Kilmer project, Willow, debuted in November 2022 as a Disney+ series. However, Val wasn’t involved in creating the first season, sparking questions about his health and whereabouts. 

Val Kilmer is still alive; he’s switched his focus to painting

Val Kilmer is still alive. Kilmer has been cancer free since 2016, though the effects of the disease and its treatment stand out. Val’s struggles with eating and speaking create the illusion that Kilmer is struggling, but he is doing fine. 

“I obviously am sounding much worse than I feel,” Val said in the 2021 documentary Val. “I feel a lot better than I sound, but I feel wonderful,” Val talked about his recovery on Good Morning America

Never one to give up, Val is trying to recover as much of his voice as possible. In his memoir, I’m your Huckleberry, Val described his voice as his ‘joy and lifeblood’, demonstrating his deep connection to his voice. Unfortunately, regaining the use of his vocal cords has proven difficult. 

“The recovery process is just as grueling as the actual disease,” Val’s daughter, Mercedes, told Extra. As he tries to restore his voice, Val has turned to painting as a form of artistic expression. 

According to his website, Kilmer’s first solo exhibition happened at PRJCTLA in Los Angeles from 1st October to 5th November 2022. Kilmer’s website details the painting process:

“The prints are generated from high-resolution scans of the painted metal panels. Often when the fractal world is blown-up it reveals yet another window. Scaled up, these images both reference their source material and become entirely new works.”

“These impulsive, fluid images suggest that there are things greater than ourselves, they hint to Kilmer’s own belief in spring and rebirth, the poetic and pantheistic.”

Kilmer’s acting career slowed after losing his voice during cancer treatment

It’s unclear whether Kilmer would be alive today or whether he’d still have his voice had his children allowed him to pursue prayer as the sole treatment for cancer. Val reluctantly agreed to pursue medicinal therapies to ease his family’s fears and anxieties. 

“I just didn’t want to experience their fear, which was profound,” Kilmer told The New York Times. Kilmer told the outlet that he blamed cancer treatment, not the disease, for taking away his voice: “That’s from radiation and chemotherapy. It’s not from cancer. That ‘treatment’ caused my suffering.”

Val took a break from acting as he underwent treatment in secret. He denied having cancer even after actor Michael Douglas slipped up in an interview, revealing Kilmer’s illness. Kilmer eventually came clean about his cancer diagnosis, writing on Reddit that he’d had ‘a healing of cancer’.

Despite recovering from the disease, Val’s acting career slowed: the treatment had taken away a key avenue of expression – his voice. 

Val doesn’t star in as many movies as he used to, but he hasn’t retired from acting. Top Gun: Maverick showed that through advancements in voice technology, Val can still appear in productions. “[Kilmer’s] voice was digitally altered and blended a little but just for clarity,” director Joseph Kosinski told USA Today

Kilmer was expected to appear in the Willow series, but coronavirus restrictions prevented him from filming season one. “We really wanted Val to come be in the show,” showrunner Jonathan Kasdan toldEW. “And Val really wanted to come out and be in the show.”

Kasdan told the outlet that the door is still open for Val to contribute to the series: “We wanted to leave open the door to any possibility in the future and also honor the spirit of him. We’ve tried to do that and work with him in a way so that he is felt and heard, if not seen.”

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