Val Kilmer is recovering from throat cancer


Eighties and nineties star Val Kilmer has been battling a life-threatening throat cancer in recent years, forcing him to undergo pharyngeal surgery, in which a tube was implanted in his throat. This has not stopped his career, and in a new interview he presents a cautious but optimistic approach, and tells what it is like to play without one of the most basic tools for an actor – the voice

Like any other gaming challenge. Kilmar | Photo: EuropaNewswire / Gado; GettyImages IL

You know the actor Val Kilmer from a blockbuster series in the late 80s and throughout the 90s, including “Love in the Sky”, “Prince of Egypt” and his short but remembered tenure as Batman in “Batman Forever”. In recent years, however, Kilmer has reduced his appearances on the big screen, in part following a health crisis that befell him in 2015. That same year, Kilmer was hospitalized after detecting a suspicious tumor in his throat. He and his spokesmen initially refrained from revealing that it was a cancerous growth, but two years later Kilmer was interviewed by the Hollywood Reporter and confirmed that he was “recovering from cancer.”

Later, Kilmer’s throat cancer hit one of the most important tools for an actor’s work – his voice. Kilmer underwent tracheostomy (tracheostomy), in which a tube was inserted into Kilmer’s trachea to allow the air he breathes to “bypass” the tumor area and reach the player’s respiratory system safely. The aforementioned pipe is located near Kilmer’s vocal cords, and his voice now sounds louder, hoarse and weaker than the authoritative voice that characterized his appearances in films such as “Top Secret,” “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” or “The Doors.”

But despite the damage to his voice, Kilmer has not completely retired from acting, and continues to work on smaller films, whose production process is less tedious and more tailored to his new health needs. These days, Kilmer is promoting a new thriller called “Paydirt” – starring his 28-year-old daughter, Mercedes – in which he plays a veteran sheriff who goes on one last chase after a gang of criminals who buried a hefty sum of money in the middle of nowhere in the desert.

Speaking on Good Morning America, Kilmer described his new deal, conveying cautious optimism. “It’s like a dialect or another accent,” Kilmer explained the work required of him now, “you have to figure out how to communicate. It’s no different from any other gaming challenge, it’s just a very specific set of circumstances.” Kilmer also joked at the expense of his new voice and said “I feel much better than I sound”. Mercedes Kilmer, who joined her father for an interview, turned to him and said “I know you do not like to start with that, but you now have a voice disability, and it is very important to me to be involved in a film that revolves around a disabled actor, or a disabled actor.” Kilmer’s limitation was not included in the script for the film and the character he plays does not recover from throat cancer or use a fist to breathe. Instead, the hole and pipe in Kilmer’s neck were hidden with the help of scarves and creative shooting angles.

And Kilmar’s comeback will get a significant boost next summer, with the release of the movie “Love in the Sky 2,” where he will return to play Iceman. Filming for the intriguing sequel, which will return to the adventures of the daring test pilots from the eighties, was completed as early as last year and was due to hit theaters last month. However the outbreak of the corona virus delayed its release and it was first postponed to December and finally moved to the summer of 2021. Kilmer was asked in an interview about the production of the film and refused to divulge plot details – “all I can tell you about the film is that my hair is not the same length”.


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