Val Kilmer Gives Fans a Health Update Following Throat Cancer, Tracheotomy

Val Kilmer is sharing an update on his health as he prepares to return to the big screen for the first time since recovering from throat cancer that resulted in him having to undergo a tracheotomy. The actor, 60, appears in the movie Paydirt alongside 28-year-old daughter Mercedes, which he said on Good Morning America Monday was a special experience for him as he gets used to his new voice post surgery.

"I'm doing great, I feel a lot better than I sound," Kilmer said during Monday's show, adding that he's had to put a lot of work into communicating and working now that his voice has been affected. "It's just like any other language or dialect," the Top Gun actor explained. "You have to figure out a way to communicate that's no different than any other acting challenge but it's just a very unique set of circumstances."

Returning to the screen in the same film in which his daughter makes her big screen debut, and playing a father and daughter pair in the movie, was a unique experience. "Playing his daughter was so trippy and perfect," Mercedes said on Good Morning America. "I'm so proud to have been in this film and to have worked on this film like not just because my dad is my actual dad, but because I know you don't really lead with this but you do have now a disability with your voice, and it really meant a lot to me to be able to be involved in this film that centers a disabled actor, or an actor with a disability."


Kilmer kept his cancer journey mostly private, but opened up to The Hollywood Reporter in December 2017 that he had undergone chemotherapy to treat the disease. Overall, going through that health scare changed a lot for Kilmer personally, including his outlook on life. "I was too serious," he admits of his early career in films such as Tombstone and Batman Forever. "I'd get upset when things like Oscars and recognition failed to come my way." It's an Oscar nod that haunted him for years, he admitted. "I would like to have more Oscars than anybody," he said. "Meryl Streep must feel pretty good, you know? It must feel nice to know that everyone loves her. It's about being loved." Paydirt is scheduled to be released Aug. 7, 2020.