Tuesday, April 16

Val Kilmer won his battle against cancer, but nobody except those closest to him knew when he was in the thick of it. Among those that knew were his two kids; daughter Mercedes, 31, and son Jack, 27.

Val Kilmer has been through the worst of it, but thanks to his determination bolstered by support from his two kids, he made a grand return in “Top Gun: Maverick.”

The first rumor of famous actor Val Kilmer having a tumor or cancer was in 2015 when he spent time at a hospital and was later pictured with a tracheostomy tube on; however, he repeatedly denied having such a debilitating illness.

It was coming from the horse’s mouth, so people had no choice but to believe it; however, the following year, Kilmer’s longtime friend, Michael Douglas, implied at a public event that he had cancer.

Val Kilmer during 'The Salton Sea' World Premiere at The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

The talented actor had been discussing one of his films at a Q&A in London, and he reportedly told the host, Jonathan Ross, that Val Kilmer was “dealing with exactly what I had, and things don’t look too good for him.”

This sparked yet another wave of concern for his health, but Val Kilmer broke his silence on the topic a few days later, revealing that he was pretty healthy and free of cancer or tumors.

In his statement, he revealed that it had been two years since he last spoke to Douglas and that the last thing he asked the man was about getting a diagnosis for a lump in his throat.

He confessed that he still had a swollen tongue but that it was not cancer. Then he urged Douglas to visit him if he was not convinced.

Despite his best wishes, it turned out that Kilmer did have throat cancer. To fight it off, he had to endure severe treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and the one that completely damaged his voice box, a tracheostomy.

Kilmer’s recovery was just as tough a phase as the battle itself had been.
In April 2020, Kilmer revealed how he was dealing with losing his voice when he appeared on “Good Morning America” for an interview where he shed more light on his journey.

Val Kilmer attends the Simply Shakespeare's Live Read of "The Merchant Of Venice" at Walt Disney Concert Hall on October 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

According to him, he was diagnosed with throat cancer, but it healed very quickly. Speaking about his old voice, he confessed that he missed simply having it and not having to sound like a pirate when he laughed.

In 2021, his two kids, Mercedes and Jack Kilmer, produced a documentary that covered his journey from being diagnosed to becoming a throat cancer survivor.

It was an instant hit, and that same year, a cloning company known as Sonic was able to replicate Kilmer’s old voice with AI technology.

Thanks to that innovation, Kilmer, who used to have issues communicating with an artificial voice box, could be heard clearly, just like in old times. That same year, he revealed how encouraged he was to create again, and that’s what he did.

Kilmer won his battle against cancer, but nobody except those close to him knew while he was in the thick of it. Among those that knew were his two kids; daughter Mercedes, and son Jack. They are products of his relationship with actress Joanne Whalley — the two were married in 1988 but went their separate ways in 1996.

Jack and his sister stood by their dad as he battled his cancer, and even after it healed, they continued their vigil by his side while giving occasional updates to his fans.

In August 2021, Mercedes revealed that it had not been easy. According to her, Kilmer’s recovery was just as tough a phase as the battle itself had been.

On the other hand, the younger child, Jack, had nothing but gratitude to express. When he spoke, Jack commented on how nice it was to receive support from so many people and declared that it made him emotional.

Jack Kilmer and Mercedes Kilmer attend "Val" photocall during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 07, 2021 in Cannes, France | Source: Getty Images

The kids share a great relationship with their dad, and Mercedes once stated that her dad had always shed his acting hat when he was with them and that he was a really playful, funny person.

Since he has been fighting cancer, Kilmer has had to stay away from acting, but thanks to all the support from loved ones and friends, he made a brilliant comeback to the movie industry by reprising his role as Iceman in the latest installment of the “Top Gun” franchise.

Kilmer’s top-notch performance in the first blockbuster movie had never been forgotten, but he would have been sidelined from the sequel if he had not abandoned his pride to beg.

In his 2020 memoir,” I’m Your Huckleberry,” the actor revealed that the producers had not reached out to him, so he had contacted them on his own because Maverick (Tom Cruise) and Iceman went together; like “pepper and salt.”

Fortunately, the higher-ups listened to his pleas and decided to cast him opposite Tom Cruise again as Iceman. It was a great decision, and the movie received rave reviews since it premiered in cinemas.

How His Fans Reacted
Tom Cruise has said that the scene for the movie that was shot between him and Kilmer was an emotional one. The same sentiment was echoed by Kilmer’s daughter, Mercedes, who has also admitted that just being able to reprise that role means a lot to her father because the franchise is one he is very proud of.

American actors Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise on the set of 1986 movie, Top Gun, directed by Tony Scott. | Source: Getty Images

She said: “It was trippy and very special for my dad to be on set with his friends who made this movie when they were my age.”

Since the movie debuted in theatres, fans who have seen it have had nothing but praise for Kilmer, with some even declaring that his comeback is an inspiration for them.

One fan confessed love for the sequel and stated that the scene between Maverick and Iceman was “the best scene” in the film, while another claimed that it had “the entire crowd in tears.”

Another Twitter user praised Kilmer’s acting and thanked him and the rest of the acting crew for giving them something to get excited about despite all the “crazy going on” in the world.

Such were the comments flying around on social media following the movie’s premiere, and once again, Kilmer and Cruise have cemented their place in Hollywood history.