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AUSTIN, TEXAS - SEPTEMBER 01:  Val Kilmer who played Iceman in the film, introduces a special screening of Top Gun at Camp Mabry on September 1, 2019 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Gary Miller/Getty Images)
Tragic Details About Val Kilmer
History - Science
His Parents’ Divorce
Kilmer’s parents divorced when he was nine, leaving him and his two brothers in the custody of their father. Kilmer never got over the divorce, becoming distant from his father and later clashing badly with his older brother Mark while handling their father’s posthumous affairs in the ‘90s.
Early Acting Struggles
When Kilmer was 12, he was offered his first role in a hamburger commercial. As he revealed in a 1999 interview, however, he walked off the set because he simply couldn't convince himself to "believe" in the burgers, and if he did not believe what his character was saying, he felt he could not play the part.
His Brother’s Death
When Kilmer was 17, his younger brother had an epileptic seizure while swimming in a pool and drowned. Though Kilmer was devastated, he still managed to enter the esteemed drama program at Juilliard, becoming the youngest person ever accepted into that august institution at the time.
His Doomed Marriage
Kilmer met actress Joanne Whalley while filming “Willow,” and they married and had two children. However, their union ended badly in 1996 — in part due to Kilmer’s likely infidelity and his devotion to method acting (he essentially acted like he was the troubled rock star Jim Morrison while working on “The Doors”).
A Difficult Reputation
Despite starring in some iconic films, Kilmer developed a reputation as one of the worst actors to work with. The sad fact is that the issues were often caused by Kilmer really trying to do his best possible work for a project, but in fully committing to his craft, he often wasn’t the nicest person off-screen.