What is Kelly McGillis from “Top Gun” doing today? What happened?

April 18, 2024
5 mins read

Who is Kelly McGillis?

She starred in the action drama “Top Gun” opposite Tom Cruise and Tim Robbins, but Kelly McGillis has over 50 acting credits to her name. Although she’s probably still known best as Charlie in “Top Gun”, she has had numerous notable movie roles in her career.

Continue reading to learn more about this versatile actress, her career beginnings, her private life, and what’s happened to her.

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Early life, family, and education

Born Kelly Ann McGillis under the zodiac sign of Cancer on 9 July 1957, she’s aged 65 as of February 2023. Kelly hails from Newport Beach, California USA, holds American nationality, and her ethnicity is of mixed German, English, Welsh and Scots-Irish descent. She was raised by her parents Virginia and Donald, a homemaker and a physician respectively, alongside her two younger sisters, whose names she hasn’t revealed.

Subsequently, the family moved to Los Angeles, California, where Kelly attended the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts, but dropped out of high school in 1975, eventually obtaining her General Equivalency Diploma (GED), and moving to New York City, where she enrolled at the prestigious Juilliard School to study acting, graduating in 1983.


Roles in movies

Kelly made her acting debut playing Geneva Spofford in the 1983 romantic comedy-drama “Reuben, Reuben”, which was nominated for two Oscars – Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and Best Actor in a Leading Role (Tom Conti).

Kelly followed with her role as Katherine in the 1984 TV movie “Sweet Revenge” before she was cast to play her breakthrough role which came in the following year. Kelly was seen as Rachel in the thriller drama “Witness”, also starring Harrison Ford and Lukas Haas, which had 25 award nominations and won 13, including two Oscars for Best Film Editing, and Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen. Kelly was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture, and also for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Award for Best Actress.

In 1986, Kelly was cast to play her most notable role to date, as Charlie in “Top Gun”, now a cult movie, which won 11 awards, including Oscar for Best Music, Original Score (“Take My Breath Away”). In 2015, the movie was registered with the National Film Preservation Board.

In the following year, Kelly was seen as Annie Packert in the movie “Made in Heaven”, which brought her Venice Film Festival Golden Ciak Award – Best Actress. Later in 1987, Kelly starred as Anda in the drama “Once We Were Dreamers” opposite John Shea and Arnon Zadok. The movie followed the story of a commune of young Jewish people from Europe, who after World War I, establishes a settlement in the Sinai Desert.

Kelly followed with her roles in “The House on Carroll Street” (1988), “Winter People” (1989), and “Grand Isle” in 1991. The early ‘90s saw Kelly as Claire Ruth in the 1992 biographical drama “The Babe”, which followed the story of a baseball legend Babe Ruth. Next, Kelly was seen in TV movies such as “Bonds of Love” (1993), “In the Best of Families: Marriage, Pride & Madness” (1994), “We the Jury” (1996), and “The Third Twin” (1997).

She returned on the big screen playing Nettie in the 1998 western drama “Painted Angels”, also starring Brenda Fricker and Meret Becker, followed by her role as Ellie in “The Settlement” (1999).

The early 2000s saw Kelly in “The Monkey’s Mask” (2000) and “No One Can Hear You” (2001) before she paused her acting career for five years. She was next cast to play Nancy in the 2006 TV movie “Black Widower”, returning on the big screen as Sister in the 2010 science-fiction horror “Stake Land”, which had 11 award nominations and won three.


Kelly followed with her role as Leanne Rease-Jones in the 2011 horror mystery “The Innkeepers”, written and directed by Ti West, which won the Toronto After Dark Film Festival Award for Scariest Film (Fans Choice Award). In the following years, Kelly co-starred in “Tio Papi” (2013) and “Blue” (2015), followed by her role in the 2017 TV movie “An Uncommon Grace”.

In the following year, Kelly was cast to play Rose in the TV movie “Maternal Secrets”, a thriller about a US senator who goes missing while on vacation in Bermuda, and when his girlfriend goes looking for him, she discovers that her estranged mother lives on the island and knows a lot more about her boyfriend’s disappearance than she wants to admit. For her performance in the movie, Kelly was nominated for the California Women’s Film Festival Jury Creative Award- Best Supporting Actress, and also for the Southampton International Film Festival Prize- Supporting Actress in a Feature.

This was Kelly’s most recent movie role.


Roles in series

Kelly made her first television series appearance as Mila McGann in an episode of the series “Dark Eyes” in 1995. She had a guest role as Nicole Whitley in the 2000 series “The Outer Limits”, followed by her voice roles in “The Wild Thornberrys” and “Buzz Lightyear of Star Command”, also in 2000.

Kelly’s next TV series role came in 2008 when she was cast to play Colonel Gillian Davis in two episodes of the series “The L World”, a romantic drama that follows the love and life stories of a close group of lesbians in Los Angeles, which had 24 award nominations, including one fora Primetime Emmy, and won five.

In 2014, Kelly guest starred as Helen in the series “Z Nation”, and most recently, she was cast to play Miriam Saslaw in an episode of the series “Dirty John” in 2020, however, her role was uncredited.


Love life and relationships

Kelly has been one of those actresses who were said to have broken many men’s hearts, and it’s known that she was married twice, and that she was in a civil union.

Kelly met her first future husband Boyd Black in the late ‘70s, when they were both studying at Juilliard – they married in 1979, but divorced in 1981. Her second husband was Fred Tillman, whom she married in 1989 – they have two daughters together, namely Kelsey Lauren Tillman and Sonora Ashley Tillman. Kelly and her second husband divorced in 2002.

Many were surprised when Kelly came out as a lesbian in 2009. She met Melanie Leis back in 2000, who worked as a bartender at Kelly and Fred’s bar in Key West, Florida. It isn’t clear if Melanie was the reason for Kelly’s second divorce, however, in 2010, Kelly entered a civil union with Melanie, a legally recognized arrangement similar to marriage, but in 2011 their union was dissolved, although the reason hasn’t been disclosed.

As of February 2023, it seems that Kelly is single, has married twice, and has two daughters with her second husband Fred Tillman.

What is she doing today? What happened to her?

Kelly lives in Henderson County, North Carolina, and teaches acting in Asheville, while she also occasionally performs on stage.

Many of her fans were worried when they heard that Kelly was attacked by a woman, later identified as Laurence Marie Dorn, who broke into Kelly’s home in June 2016. Kelly was left bruised and scratched, but luckily didn’t suffer serious injury. The woman was arrested and sentenced to 18 months of probation.


How rich is Kelly McGillis?

During her more than 50-year-long career, Kelly has been seen in numerous movies, and certainly is remembered as Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Blackwood, a civilian contractor in “Top Gun”, and Maverick’s love interest. Perhaps you didn’t know that this character was based on a real-life person, Christine Fox, a Marine Corps Air Station Miramar employee.

Thanks to her acting talent, Kelly has amassed a modest fortune, which according to sources, has been estimated at over $4 million, as of early 2023.

Olivia Wilson

As the Freelance Writer at Net Worth Post, I steer producing riveting stories about the lives and triumphs of influencers. With an unwavering commitment to precision and a flair for weaving compelling tales, I guide our content creation, from the depths of research to the pinnacle of narrative excellence. My responsibilities encompass the full spectrum of editorial management, including the meticulous investigation, narrative development, and upholding the integrity and high standard of our output.

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