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I'm Your Huckleberry: A Memoir

I'm Your Huckleberry: A Memoir

by Val Kilmer


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In this New York Times bestseller, legendary actor and star of the acclaimed documentary Val shares the stories behind his most beloved roles, reminisces about his star-studded career and love life, and reveals the truth behind his recent health struggles in a remarkably candid autobiography.

Val Kilmer has played many iconic roles over his nearly four-decade film career. A table-dancing Cold War agent in Top Secret! A troublemaking science prodigy in Real Genius. A brash fighter pilot in Top Gun. A swashbuckling knight in Willow. A lovelorn bank robber in Heat. A charming master of disguise in The Saint. A wise-cracking detective in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Of course, Batman, Jim Morrison and the sharp-shooting Doc Holliday.

But who is the real Val Kilmer? With I’m Your Huckleberry—published ahead of next summer’s highly anticipated sequel Top Gun: Maverick, in which Kilmer returns to the big screen as Tom “Iceman” Kazansky—the enigmatic actor at last steps out of character and reveals his true self.

In this uniquely assembled memoir—featuring vivid prose, snippets of poetry and rarely-seen photos—Kilmer reflects on his acclaimed career, including becoming the youngest actor ever admitted to the Juilliard School’s famed drama department, determinedly campaigning to win the lead part in The Doors, and realizing a years-long dream of performing a one-man show as his hero Mark Twain. He shares candid stories of working with screen legends Marlon Brando, Tom Cruise, Robert Downey Jr. and Robert De Niro, and recounts high-profile romances with Cher, Cindy Crawford, Daryl Hannah, and former wife Joanne Whalley. He chronicles his spiritual journey and lifelong belief in Christian Science, and describes travels to far-flung locales such as a scarcely inhabited island in the Indian Ocean where he suffered from delirium and was cared for by the resident tribe. And he reveals details of his recent throat cancer diagnosis and recovery—about which he has disclosed little until now.

While containing plenty of tantalizing celebrity anecdotes, I’m Your Huckleberry—taken from the famous line Kilmer delivers as Holliday in Tombstone—is ultimately a singularly written and deeply moving reflection on mortality and the mysteries of life.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781982144906
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 04/27/2021
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 34,240
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Val Kilmer is an American actor known for his roles in Top Secret!, Top Gun, Real Genius, Willow, The Doors, True Romance, Tombstone, Batman Forever, Heat, The Saint, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, and more. A graduate of Juilliard’s drama department, he has appeared on Broadway and London’s West End. He has published two books of poetry and received a Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Word Album. He is also an accomplished visual artist, with work exhibited in galleries worldwide, and the star of an acclaimed documentary Val about his life as a Hollywood actor.

Read an Excerpt

1. The Pinball Machine


I’m saying what we’re praying and how it’s neighboring delight

To spend an eternity in this hour holding hands throughout the night

Never needing to check for relevance

(Our proof is what we pay for)

We dance across the cosmos

Reflecting purity and purpose from Pulpit and Press

I salute you brothers and sisters

Whose progress


The Infinite

—Hollywood, California, 2019

Table of Contents

The Pinball Machine 1

Happy Trails to You, Roy Rogers and Charles Manson 9

Grandpa Kilmer's Grave in Truth or Consequences 23

Father's Flying Dream, Facing the Chief 35

Spooked by Love 41

The Deepest Wound 47

THE Juilliard School 55

Tadashi Suzuki and the Elusive Nature of Fate 63

Cher Likes My Harley 71

Top Secret! 79

Real Genius 95

Fathers Son 105

New Mexico Is Called the "Land of Enchantment" or, as I'm Proud to Have Coined, the "Land of Entrapment" 109

I Did Top Gun, Son 115

You're So Twain (Carly) 123

Let's Go Upstairs 129

Willow 135

The Doors 143

Shattered 153

Brando 157

Confusions & Contradictions 163

Thunderheart 167

Colic Convulsion Then Holy Miracle 171

Doc Holidays 175

True Romance 183

Eugene D. Kilmer 187

The Kudu 193

Batman, but Forever? 197

Take the Heat 203

Birth & Death 209

The Island Is Dr. Moreau 213

Crocodiles & Ecstasy 221

The Sinner Is the Saint 227

More, More, More 231

Never the Twain Shall Meet 237

Soft Opening 241

Declarations of Independence 245

Gay as a Pink Hairnet 247

Siren on a Snowboard 255

Hiding from God 259

Kiss Kiss Kiss Goes the Indie, Bang Bang Bang Goes the Downey 265

Land 275

Glory & Gore 287

Denial vs. Denial 291

The Iceman Cometh Again 295

HelMel 297

Photo Credits 307

Acknowledgments 309

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