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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 04/21/2008

Comment Box: Val Kilmer -- the New Tom Cruise?

By Liz Kelly

Kilmer as Moses. (Reuters)

Usually Val Kilmer's name is invoked around here to post pictures of the one-time Lizard King's expanding waistline. But thanks to a submission from Friday's Celebritology Live chat, we can consider the notoriously difficult actor in a whole new light:

byool, IN: Val Kilmer letting himself go extends to reading from the Bible on TV. In Wheeling W. Va., he appears on Cable 10 -- after the real estate ads and before the other religious show hosted by the fat shouting guy who uses his children in his ads for his tire store. I wish I were making this up.

Perhaps because it lacks the flashy, couch-jumping trappings of Scientology, we've given Val a pass in favor of ribbing Tom Cruise at every opportunity. But, unlikely as it may seem, Val Kilmer has indeed been spotted reading the Bible on TV -- as corroborated by this equally amused blogger. Sadly, for us, no one has yet uploaded video evidence of the readings -- so if anyone out there happens to have captured this on tape, please to upload and send us a link pronto.

It turns out, though, that Kilmer has been quietly merging his faith and his career for some time now. Not only did he play Moses in "The 10 Commandments: The Musical" (who knew?), he's also directing and starring in the upcoming "Mark Twain and Mary Baker Eddy," a paean to Christian Science's founder. Here's an overlong peek at the trailer -- fast forward to 1:39 if you're itching to see Val Kilmer as Twain.

It's worth noting, though, that at least one article critical of Christian Science has asked why the church -- and its celebrity adherents -- has been largely immune from the scrutiny. After all, it has famously foresworn conventional medicine in favor of "spiritual healing" and -- according to the article -- actually has much in common with Scientology:

Picture a relatively new American religious sect founded by a charismatic, paranoid, authoritarian leader. The church has a set of secret doctrines, and it threatens legal action against those who would reveal them. It vigorously pressures journalists, publishers and booksellers who attempt to disseminate anything but the officially sanctioned accounts of its deceased founder or its current autocratic leadership. It has a handful of celebrity followers and some really weird beliefs. It's also a potential threat to the well-being of many of its members.

Will Val Kilmer follow Tom Cruise from celebrity to infamy because of his public faith? We may find out when "Mark Twain and Mary Baker Eddy" is released in 2010. Of course, the labor of love may be overshadowed his rumored role as David Lee Roth in the Motley Crue biopic "The Dirt."


Comment(s) of the Week:
I'm coming out with a line of Spencer & Heidi pinatas. You can whack the cr*p out of them for amusement and there is nothing at all inside. -- DFC

...and best of all, the piñatas are made of the actual Spencer and the actual Heidi. -- byoolin

By Liz Kelly  | April 21, 2008; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Comment Box  
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Yeah, but they've got that great newspaper...

Posted by: 23112 | April 21, 2008 11:32 AM | Report abuse

From that other blog Liz Kelly mentioned:

"It was like this black hole... I kept flicking back to it.... And he read in such a soft and gentle manner... For a few minutes I wondered if maybe I hadn't dropped through a tear in the fabric of the universe into some alternate existence."


Posted by: Celebritology "Comment Of The Week" Award-Winner byoolin | April 21, 2008 11:48 AM | Report abuse

Wow, interesting. Does that mean it's just a matter of time before we start getting comments from angry Christian Scientists?

Posted by: h3 | April 21, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Well, Val Kilmer, on a Hollywood scale, just isn't quite as big of a big ol' can of crazy as Tom Cruise. Christian Science may be loopy. But they don't have Xenu. And they don't have that freaky-deaky too-much-B-vitamins-and-not-enough-gray-matter thing going on that Cruise has.
So we cut him some slack. Plus, who doesn't love him in "Real Genius"?

Posted by: eh | April 21, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

John Travolta in Battlefield Earth was bad. But did anyone else on earth see Mickey Rourke in that St. Francis of Assissi movie? Whoah.

Posted by: other liz | April 21, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

Good grief, where are my manners?

Thank you, Liz Kelly, for once again deeming my words COTW-worthy. Of course, I couldn't have done it without a great setup from DFC, who threw a big fat one right over the middle of the plate for me, and who quite deservedly gets the other COTW award.

I'd like to dedicate this award to HM The Queen, who turns 82 today, and to Andie McDowell, who turns 50 and is still nice to look at, even if she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag, and of course to James N. Osterberg, who turns 61 today and who long ago turned into Iggy Pop.

Posted by: Celebritology "Comment Of The Week" Award-Winner (and sycophantic suck-up) byoolin | April 21, 2008 11:58 AM | Report abuse

Oh sweet Je-nevermind.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | April 21, 2008 12:00 PM | Report abuse

Oh, this makes me soooo sad. I know Val's been flying the freak flag for awhile now (I accidently just typed "frying" instead of "flying" - clearly there's been a little too much of that, too) but this just really bums me out. I loved him in that movie with Elizabeth Shue and the other one where he plays a Native American FBI agent - I can't remember the names. I'm pregnant. That's my new excuse for everything - almost makes me wish it would last longer.

Posted by: Juicy | April 21, 2008 12:06 PM | Report abuse


I wonder, if Val will interview....I mean meet and fall in love with an up and coming starlet as well and have his cousin sire their love child. I ask because that's a sign of something not good if it happens twice.

Posted by: petal | April 21, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

eh, they do have children dying because their parents refuse treatments, however. There are prosecutions quite frequently.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 12:11 PM | Report abuse

So Maverick's a Scientologist on YouTube and Iceman's a Christian Scientist on local cable. What's next, Goose chatting up Catholics on EWTN?

Posted by: td | April 21, 2008 12:12 PM | Report abuse

"I'm pregnant. That's my new excuse for everything - almost makes me wish it would last longer."

Juicy, based on nothing more than conversations with women who have been pregnant, I must assume from your wish that you are not in your third trimester.

Posted by: byoolin | April 21, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse


(oh geeze, wait... I think that I just proved your point)

Posted by: e2h | April 21, 2008 12:29 PM | Report abuse

The movie with Elizabeth Shue was called the Saint.

Posted by: Stuck@Work | April 21, 2008 12:34 PM | Report abuse

AAAAAAggggghhhh. Finals must be getting to me, I am losing my snark. The best I can come up with is that if Val keeps letting himself go, he will be 2 Tom Cruises.

Posted by: ep | April 21, 2008 1:12 PM | Report abuse

It would be great if you could do some research on Christian Science. I am no longer a Christian Scientist - but I was raised in the religion and it is not a kooky as people have given it credit for.

It was founded by a woman in the 1800s who was very religious/spiritual but, unlike her puritan family, didn't think everyone was going to hell if they didn't join the church. This made the church fathers angry. She also didn't think that Jesus (the man) was an incarnation of God, but that he was the ultimate example of what we as humans can be. She believed that your thought controls your experience and that everyone has a personal responsibility to communicate with the devine. She thought that God was both male and female. She also thought (along the lines of eastern religions) that reality does not inhere in the physical universe, but the spiritual. She taught that physical universe was a reflection of our understanding of divine reality. She got a lot of flack for these ideas.

She got a lot of negative attention for promoting these ideas - a lot of turn-of-the century men telling her that she was crazy. That reputation has carried over to these times.

The "weirdest" thing about the religion is that its adherents do tend to rely on prayer/God for healing (an extension of the belief that Jesus was setting an example). It is not a hard and fast rule. One does not get kicked out of the church for going to a doctor. There are no secret doctrines - to my knowledge (I spent many years in the church, sat on boards, took instruction, etc.).

I am not trying to say that the church and its its followers are flawless - as with any human institution, there are egos, mistakes, weird/subjective interpretations, etc. But as with any religion, I think you need to at least partially assess it by it's doctrines rather than how people choose to interpret those doctrines.

The only reason that I am not practicing Christian Science is that I question the existence of God/Goddess. As far as religions go, I think (in my biased opinion) that Christian Science is pretty sane.

One more point - the church does not ask for nor require any sort of donation of its members. People tend to donate money each Sunday and no-one is allowed to know how much others contribute. It is private. Anyone can attend/participate at any level without contributing a penny.

Posted by: JS | April 21, 2008 1:14 PM | Report abuse

From "Thunderheart" to thunder thighs - nope, too easy.

Posted by: PJ123 | April 21, 2008 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Juicy, congrats on the lil guy or gal and take it from me, you *will* continue to have a great excuse for forgetfulness, clumsiness, and really, any other --ness that you might encounter (except neatness - go ahead and write that one off for a while) for the next, oh 18 years or so...

Seriously, my lil guy is almost 9 months old and I still have memory and sequencing troubles! I like to call it "momnesia." Try to enjoy it.

on topic - I don't know squat about Christian Science, except what JS just so obligingly told us (thanks JS). But, I have certainly heard more nutty stuff about the Scientologists than about the Christian Scientists. And I can't recall hearing or seeing anything particularly nutty about Big Val as opposed to the Cruiser who is clearly nuttiness with a nut filling topped with crushed nuts.

Posted by: sunnydaze | April 21, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

I agree with JS, about Christian Scientists. They are not as freaked out as people think. They can go to the doctor, and it isn't considered a bad thing.

Overall I think the bad press goes to people who consider themselves "faith healers," and not associated with any religiion. They can be whacked out and not take responsible action when their kids are sick, and people hear the work faith healing and automatically think "Christian Scientist."

Posted by: chocolatetiara | April 21, 2008 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Yeah, Juicy - having small (or medium or large) children is just as good an excuse for forgetfulness, so you're set for years!

Posted by: h3 | April 21, 2008 2:03 PM | Report abuse

my only contact with christian science is having a few friends who were scientists when i was growing up. best i can recall, they weren't into any nutty stuff. the mom in one family was wheelchair bound from polio, though.

Posted by: b | April 21, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Maybe it's because he's been out of the public spotlight and basically stopped working, but Kirk Cameron went off the deep end in a way that makes Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise look like Christmas and Easter Catholics. Not in the jumping on the couch kind of way, but more of a, "I'm taking the time to personally damn you to hell if you don't get 'saved' by me now" kind of way. Have you ever seen The Way of the Master? It's funny for about 5 minutes, then you realize these people are taking themselves seriously, then you get disgusted. It's one thing to maintain a career, be nuts, and promote your religious beliefs; but something else to say, "hey, remember Growing Pains? I was Mike, Boner's best friend. You're going to HELL!!!!" Val Kilmer and Tom Cruise still kind of work.

Posted by: dbrue | April 21, 2008 2:42 PM | Report abuse

Well, I'm going to remember Val from when he was in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. What a underrated lil gem that movie is.

Posted by: Geist | April 21, 2008 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Top Secret!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 2:54 PM | Report abuse

this kinda puts a whole new spin on top gun. could that movie have been a prelude for the religion smack down to come? hmmm... i see a sequel brewing.
(highway to the danger zone indeed.)

Posted by: melissamac1 | April 21, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

That IMDB entry on "The Dirt" also has Christopher Walken rumored to portray Ozzy Osbourne... WTF?

Posted by: Jay-El | April 21, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Hope you like pink and yellow folks, cuz it's the dawning of a new era here in Celebritology.

Posted by: Liz Kelly | April 21, 2008 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Just occurred to me -- it almost makes sense if they got the rumors for Kilmer and Walken reversed...

Posted by: Jay-El | April 21, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Between the melissamac1's postulating a sequel to Top Gun and Liz Kelly's new pink & yellow colour scheme, Celebritology suddenly took on a homoerotic subtext.

Posted by: byoolin | April 21, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Not that there's anything wrong with that whole HEST thing. I own a pink shirt and a yellow one and they're in regular rotation.

And no pleats.

Posted by: byoolin | April 21, 2008 3:15 PM | Report abuse

Well as long as we're talking about those wacky celebs and their leanings, didn't Mel Gibson build his family their own church because the 'regular' Catholics were too liberal?

Posted by: jes | April 21, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

btw, on the left of the screen under 'In Entertainment' the headline 'Color photos of Paris under Nazis kicks up a storm' is a whole new kind of disturbing in the Celebritology world.

Posted by: jes | April 21, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Wow, celebritology has gotten all fancy and new fangled.

Posted by: petal | April 21, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I think the word is "metrosexual".

Posted by: possum | April 21, 2008 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

wow, disturbing link there, 4:27

Posted by: Anonymous | April 21, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse

colors, schmolors. What happened to those handy dandy little symbols that allowed us to take a glipse without actually having to open the link?

Posted by: jake e. poo | April 21, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Jake -- good question. The ones that had previously been added to the blog dropped out when we launched the redesign. Look for them back in the blog tomorrow.

Posted by: Liz | April 21, 2008 8:35 PM | Report abuse

The difference is that Christianity is actually a religion (or a group of religions). Scientology is not a religion. It is a criminal racket and a mind-control cult. Why else would it be banned (or on track to be banned) in Germany, Belgium, Greece, France, Italy, Norway... All very civilized and tolerant countries. They recognize how dangerous it is.

Posted by: Lilly von Marcab | April 21, 2008 9:18 PM | Report abuse

I loved Val in Willow. Why are so many of our generations' hunks starting to become human? Can't talk about the weight gain as I have quit smoking twice 20 lbs ago each time (if you restart that first 20 doesn't fall off). Just some idle thoughts...

Posted by: MadCap | April 21, 2008 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Mark Twain was a big critic of CS. His book is available to read online. The opening chapter is worth reading even if you don't care one bit about CS.

I attended Principia College in Elsah, Ill., in the 1980s. Two students during my freshman year 1984-85 died of the measles as did a child of a staff member. It wasn't long after that I began having doubts about the "religion." Still, I was a member from 1983 until the late 1990s, although I hadn't been too serious about it since 1993.

The CS Church was pretty powerful early in the 20th century, so books such as "The Life of Mary Baker G. Eddy and the History of Christian Science" were pulled from many bookstores, or bought by CSers. Apparently the copyright and plates to the book were bought by a friend of CS. The book was republished in the early 1990s by the University of Nebraska Press.

Eddy had false teeth and wore glasses -- some healer, huh? -- and was mentally unstable. Why else would she claim that one of her husbands was murdered by arsenic poisoning mentally administered?

Other books worth reading are "God's Perfect Child: Living and Dying in the Christian Science Church" by Caroline Fraser and "The Religion That Kills: Christian Science: Abuse, Neglect, and Mind Control" by Linda S. Kramer.'s review of Fraser's book is available here:

Remember this: If anyone asks you to join CS, turn in the other direction and run.

Posted by: Ex-CS | April 21, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Good day!

Posted by: | April 21, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Remember this: If anyone asks you to join CS, turn in the other direction and run.

Posted by: Ex-CS | April 21, 2008 10:18 PM


A more generally-useful proverb was given to us many years ago by the Prophet Groucho Marx:

"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

Posted by: byoolin | April 22, 2008 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I must concur with the "Christian Science isn't nearly as creepy as Scientology" posts. As the saying goes, some of my best friends are Christian Scientists. The shunning-of-medicine part can seem weird to outsiders, but their faith in real and there's a lot more to the religion than just the medicine part.

Plus, they don't use violence and intimidation against their perceived enemies. And they don't groom their famous members to be pimps for the cult. So, uh, yeah, CS isn't so much like Scientology.

Also, my snark abilities are at low ebb this morning but I just wanted to say that, as usual, I heart byoolin and I'd like to bear his children.

Over and out.

Posted by: jaybbub | April 22, 2008 10:52 AM | Report abuse

see this free video & you'll see something...

Posted by: street pooch/w jetpack racoon | April 22, 2008 5:52 PM | Report abuse

I was able to retrieve an unforgettable "posting" on Christian Science published by the NYTimes when the religion was in the news weekly or daily. I haven't changed a word:

Christian Science Case Tests Medical Belief

Published: August 25, 1990

LEAD: To the Editor:

To the Editor:

It's a wonder you are raking the Christian Science church over the coals (front page, Aug. 6). A health scandal's focus should be on the traditional health "care" establishment. If you were to publish accounts of the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, who die in hospitals every year, there wouldn't be room for other news!

When someone dies after medical treatment we say, "It was God's will," but when someone dies without medical treatment we say, "The family is to blame for not choosing medical treatment." When someone heals in a hospital we say, "It was the treatment; praise the doctor!"; but when someone heals without medical treatment we say it was despite not having medical treatment.

The general public should start to examine its own cultish thinking about doctors, hospitals and medicine. I have not seen a doctor or taken medication in 18 years, and I feel just fine, thank you. After hearing hospital and doctor horror stories told to me by friends and acquaintances in the medical profession, I would think long and hard before suggesting medical treatment to anyone.

In referring to the Christian Science couple convicted in the death of their son after relying on prayer rather than doctors, you show your bias when you say, "It was a stunning verdict, coming as it did in the very shadow of the Mother Church in Boston." We all know that shadows are dark places, where evil things are hidden. You speak of "Christian Scientists whose children died agonizing deaths after spiritual healing failed." Have you been to a hospital and seen the agonizing deaths of people dying because of, or in spite of, their medical treatment?

I also loved your "clash of apparent absolutes: of religious liberty and parental autonomy on the one hand and the right of the states to protect children - and the rights of the children themselves - on the other." This suggests that the states "protect" children, and Christian Scientist parents do not. Nonsense! On the same page with this article appeared another about infant mortality in the United States, which is up to 40,000 children each year.

That article goes on to say: "The panel said the Government could reduce infant mortality by expanding Federal programs to deter smoking, drinking and drug abuse during pregnancy." The panel said, "Each state will be encouraged to hold a governor's conference on infant mortality before the White House conference." Are states protecting these future children by coming down heavily on the industries causing their problems and even their deaths? Of course not; the tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical industries are three of the economic pillars of our country and have extraordinary lobbying power.

When we look at the staggering national statistics and compare them with the four isolated cases of Christian Science deaths, we must scratch our heads over your coverage, which also notes that Christian Science membership is small, implying there must be something wrong with this church, for if it was large, it would mean it was somehow O.K.

Jesus said, "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Have you considered that the Christian Science church is small because it is demanding? There's no smoking, no drinking, no premarital or extramarital sex, and prayer is applied to every inharmony. Jesus' own commands would be thought bizarre in our topsy-turvy world, where violence, aggression, greed and selfishness are the status quo.

I can only recommend that you stop shooting from the hip, think more and even pray a bit. No, I am not, have never been and may never become a member of the Christian Science church. --ANNE MULLER
Stony Point, N.Y., Aug. 10, 1990

Posted by: WaPoBoy | April 22, 2008 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Hi, nice very nice page..!

Good luck !

Posted by: Anderson | April 23, 2008 4:13 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Olgunka-rf | April 23, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

to actually it's name rich flavor. could reach. pruning to dine A huge every I noticed pruning what effect

Posted by: studentredsi | April 23, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

still there. took by themselves pets university sea site by year. pruning mail stay look

Posted by: petsuniversi | April 23, 2008 4:20 PM | Report abuse

As one who was born into Christian Science in 1948, I consider CS to be extremely dangerous. CS is based on denying the reality of any mental or physical disease; any death or discord. There is certainly no addiction, discord or abuse allowed in the perfect Christian Science mind.

If anything negative appears in your life, I was taught, it is because YOU let it in and if you can't get rid of it by denying its reality -- then that is your fault also. Seeking any kind of medical help, I was told, was pretty certain to ruin your chance of having a healing. I was told that we are meant to ascend bodily into heaven like Jesus did. Death is a disgrace, and the exhortation to raise the dead, I understand, is making quite a comeback at the Christian Science Annual Meeting.

By all means join up -- they're a fun group!

Posted by: former CS prisoner | April 23, 2008 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Регистрация в форумах без постинга сообщений (профайлов) - один из самых приемлемых способов нарастить обратных ссылок ("беков") и поднять Page Rank (PR) и Яндекс-цитирование (ТИЦ )
Это вам даст как минимум 5000+ беков. На данный момент мы регистрируем в 350000 форумах Соотношения форумов 30% русских и 70% зарубежных.

Posted by: sdrisoeo | April 27, 2008 8:11 PM | Report abuse

Unlike Tom Cruise (who almost became a Catholic priest, by the way) Val Kilmer was born into Christian Science. He was raised in it and is very devoted. I have also been C.S. my whole life(now in my mid 30's.) The only people who speak for the church officially are specific staff members in Boston. Val is considered a lay person, like every other member and does not get paid to endorse the church. Also, unlike Scientology C.S. is very open about its beliefs. Reading rooms (libraries) were intended to allow the public to come in and study, but I personally believe that Mrs. Eddy also wanted the church to be as "open" as possible to allay non-constructive criticism. As for "former CS prisoner" I'm sorry you had such a terrible time in C.S. I usually find that people such as yourself who left C.S. under bad circumstances weren't taught it correctly in the first place. I don't know if it's family not understanding it and passing that onto their children or what. Anyway, whoever told you it's impossible to have a healing if you are seeking medical help shouldn't be preaching Christian Science. Also, that comment earlier about Mrs. Eddy's glasses and false teeth...I've never in my life heard about Mrs. Eddy having false teeth and I'm pretty sure it's not true. They did an autopsy on her when she died, (remember at that time she was quite famous) and the coroner said she had the veins of a young woman. She was in her 80's. Also, I do know she wrote that her students called her out about her glasses and she healed the problem.

Posted by: S.L. | April 28, 2008 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Музыкальные клипы, всё бесплатно, последние новинки музыки, качать можно целыми альбомами, это- музыкальный РАЙ.

Posted by: reftywal | April 29, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Юридические термины: жилищное, семейное и наследственное право, банкротство, приватизация, возмещение вреда и многое другое - помощь будущим юристам

Posted by: wwcatsmiu | May 1, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

by year. I went A huge often sweet, took were the best, my first were called my what effect attempt. that the and climb

Posted by: sitehousewat | May 2, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

to it forts returned a pair about And grapes,

Posted by: whitebagston | May 2, 2008 11:25 AM | Report abuse

Get a grip people.

What faith is not criticized? I am a Greek Orthodox and my faith is criticized just as much as CS. People think all kinds of rotten things about Greek Orthodoxy and have sites hating my faith too.

Next up: Tom Hanks his evil Greek festival agenda! You think you can go to a Greek festival for dancing and baklava and bam! They make you a Steward!

I like Val and Mel, and liked Tom Cruise in Top Gun and Cocktail......Oy Vey!

Posted by: Kilmerfan | May 6, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Terrell | August 16, 2008 8:54 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Isiah | August 17, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

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