Val Kilmer

Some might call Val Kilmer, who was born Dec. 31, 1959, outside Los Angeles, a reluctant movie star. A child of divorce, he showed great talent as a teen, having been one of the youngest students ever admitted into the prestigious acting program at New York City's Juilliard School, where he honed his skills in classical theatre.

Afterward, Kilmer starred in a succession of Shakespeare plays, including "Henry IV," "As You Like It" and "Hamlet." His entry into Hollywood was decidedly lowbrow, though, in the comedy Top Secret! Soon after that, he starred in a succession of small films and TV movies, finally getting his big-screen break as Iceman in Top Gun (1986).

Kilmer's credits also include Willow, Thunderheart, Tombstone and Batman Forever. But it's his staggering portrayal of rock star Jim Morrison in The Doors that will forever be linked to Kilmer, who seemed to channel the icon in every frame.