The actor and cancer survivor dances with vulnerability and passion across a wild past.
By John Lavitt
Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 03/28/2021 – At sixty-one years old, actor Val Kilmer has not allowed his tough run over the past several years to quench his enthusiasm and creativity. Ever since he was diagnosed with throat cancer in 2014, he has been fighting a battle nobody ever wants to face. After having a tracheotomy, Kilmer lost his old voice and was forced to develop a new one. Wearing scarves and finding a new path, Kilmer has embraced a new path that he describes as he celebrates his life in his new book.
Val Kilmer’s book is like a museum of his life where you bounce around from one exhibit to the next. Although the stories are not always connected, they are all told with energy and a love for storytelling. Also, he tells them with an authentic vulnerability.
Beyond his performances as Jim Morrison, Doc Holliday, Moses, and Batman, Kilmer opens up his insides and reveals his journey as a Christian Scientist. Facing the challenges of life like financial problems and family issues, Kilmer transcends the challenges by believing in himself.
A graduate of Juilliard’s drama department, Kilmer’s most beloved accomplishment as an actor were his most recent performances before the tracheotomy as Mark Twain in a one-person stage show. Digging deep into Twain’s life, Kilmer soared as an actor, inhabiting the skin of one of the all-time great American citizens. Seeing him perform as Mark Twain, which I had the privilege to do, it was an inspiration. Indeed, his literary passion was infectious. At times, in “I’m Your Huckleberry,” Kilmer almost inhabits the shoes of the legendary writer again, zig-zagging from one great anecdote to the next.
Although some people might find the book a bit confusing in its pinball and patchwork style, many more will find the approach refreshing and meaningful. Imagine being inside Val Kilmer’s head as he dances around his past from childhood to today. From New York to California to New Mexico, we take part in the dance and celebrate his life.
Hopefully, Val Kilmer will continue to be our Huckleberry, and we wish him a 21st century run of good health and ongoing creativity. Indeed, his successes as a young actor and in his trials as an older man, are reflections of our own. Today, with Tom Stratton, he curates HelMel Studios & Gallery in Hollywood. A space for Kilmer and other artists to exhibit their work, the gallery puts on shows and screenings of the work of local painters, sculptors, and multimedia creators.
In, Val Kilmer said, “HelMel Studio provides a fun, sacred space where eclectic artists gather to collaborate and through new technology inspire giving and spark change in our local community. The home of our film and tv production company, my art gallery, and our tech company, SparkRise. SparkRise is a solution for fundraising.” In addition, Kilmer runs the Twainmania Foundation.
From Cher’s Guesthouse to Christian Science reading rooms, we journey with Val Kilmer across the landscape of his life. There is no doubt that Kilmer loves the journey he has taken, valuing his children and the women that he has loved. The only person he might have loved more is Marlon Brando. When singing the legendary actor’s praises, he is a poet searching for the deeper meaning in life. Indeed, Val Kilmer celebrates the artists, writers, and actors that he admires with a passion There is no doubt that he will continue to find rare gems and share them with all of us.