Born on 29th October 1991 in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, the producer, singer, and second-generation actress Mercedes Kilmer is mainly known for being the daughter of “Top Gun” star Val Kilmer.
According to Mercedes, her parents didn’t push showbiz on her; rather, the brunette fell in love with acting when just 12 years old, after participating in a school production of “Romeo and Juliet”. “Both parents stayed neutral. Neither were supportive nor discouraging,” she told Page Six in 2020. Her mother, Joanne Whalley, is an English TV and film actress, probably known best for her works in “The Virgin Queen” and “Wolf Hall”.
Mercedes’ first credited role came in her early 20s, playing Cortney in the short “Pool Party”. Since then, she’s appeared in a handful of independent shorts such as “Closer to God” and “Prettyface”. In 2020, she made her feature film debut playing Val’s on-screen daughter in “Paydirt”, a crime thriller written and directed by Christian Sesma.
Although fans of Val and his co-star Luke Goss had high hopes for the movie, it was ignored by critics and rubbished by viewers, with one IMDb user criticizing its “plot issues, long dragged out scenes, ridiculous and unnecessary dialogue, and a cheesy disorganized plot that a 5th-grader would write”.
Christian Sesma was hellbent on casting Val despite the actor having lost his voice from throat cancer; as such, Val’s character was voiced by Jesse Corti, and the Hollywood veteran wore a scarf to hide his tracheostomy tube. Although the project received poor reviews and went nowhere at the box office, Mercedes and Val had a great experience filming together for the first time, with the millennial describing it as a “trippy experience”.
Before going on a heavy promotional run for “Paydirt”, Mercedes was relatively unknown; however, she has always had an active social media presence, with thousands of Instagram followers. The glamorous brunette uses her online platforms to express her creativity, share snaps with friends and family, and allow fans a glimpse into her life.
Apart from acting and music, Mercedes is interested in astrology, fashion, and traveling. The actress spends most of her time in L.A. or New York City, where she’s possibly working on new projects which she’s yet to announce. The “Paydirt” star is similarly coy regarding her love life, so much so that she has never publicly discussed her sexual orientation or dating history.
Mercedes’ personal net worth is believed to lie somewhere in the $100,000 range, whereas her father is worth over $10 million.
Family: Jack Kilmer
Mercedes is especially close to her brother, the actor Jack Kilmer, who was born on 6th June 1995 in L.A. Jack’s notable roles include playing Pelle Ohlin in “Lord of Chaos”, Ozzy Osbourne in the musician’s “Under the Graveyard” video, and his starring role in the 2013 drama movie “Palo Alto”. Recently, Jack narrated a documentary about his famous father.
Although Mercedes was born in New Mexico, by the time her brother was born the Kilmers were living full-time in L.A. Both siblings attended The Center for Early Education, a private primary school in West Hollywood. There, Jack met and befriended the future filmmaker Gia Coppola.
Years later, Gia asked Jack to review her script for “Palo Alto”, based on the James Franco novel of the same name. She later encouraged him to audition for one of the movie’s main roles, and filmed Jack as he read through the lines. Despite having no acting experience or desire to be in the industry, Jack won the role and was cast as Teddy; his father then joined the cast as the father of another character.
jack kilmer @ palo alto pic.twitter.com/0JTfeYGiOP
— xx (@leemcquxxn) September 6, 2015
“Palo Alto” was released in cinemas in May 2014, mere months after Jack matriculated from high school, and would become his breakthrough project. Although the Los Angeles native initially intended to go to college, he decided to enter acting full-time after witnessing how successful “Palo Alto” was at film festivals. In April 2014, he filmed “Len and Company” with Rhys Ifans and Juno Temple, followed by his role as Chet in the crime comedy movie “The Nice Guys”.
Around the same time, Jack also dabbled in the high-fashion modeling world, on the catwalk for Saint Laurent’s 2015 spring-summer show, and posing for portraits for the brand’s Permanent Collection. In 2018, he starred alongside Valter Skarsgard and Rory Culkin in “Lords of Chaos”.
In his free time, Jack plays drums and the guitar, and occasionally DJs at clubs in the L.A. circuit; he also enjoys skateboarding and surfing.
Family: Val Kilmer
Val Kilmer was born on 31st December 1959 in L.A. and brought up with his two brothers. The actor is of Swedish, Irish, German, Scottish and English descent and previously claimed to have Cherokee roots. Val’s parents divorced in 1968, – his mother remarried two years later. Tragedy struck the Kilmer family in 1977, when Val’s younger brother who had epilepsy, died at just 15 years old, drowning in a jacuzzi.
During his high school days, Val dated the actress Mare Winningham and studied with Kevin Spacey. His acting talents led to him becoming the youngest person at the time to be accepted into the Juilliard School’s prestigious Drama Division. Despite originally being a stage actor, Val became famous thanks to his roles in the comedy movies “Real Genius” and “Top Secret!”. Other notable performances include his critically-acclaimed portrayal of Jim Morrison in “The Doors”, and his role as Batman in “Batman Forever”.
Val’s private struggle with throat cancer began in 2015. It would be years before his fans or the media discovered that he had difficulty speaking due to his vocal cords being damaged following a procedure on his trachea; after undergoing chemotherapy and two tracheotomies, Val finally told the world his story in the critically-acclaimed documentary “Val”, which covered his career and health issues. The documentary premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and helped make him publicly relevant again after years of keeping a low profile.
These days, Val is enjoying his time away from the cameras to focus on another of his passions: poetry. The actor recently began selling limited edition signed copies of his poetry book, “COWBOY POET OUTLAW MADMAN”, and is also trying his hand at abstract art which he uploads to his Instagram profile.