Kelly McGillis was a huge breakout star in 1986 when she appeared in the iconic movie “Top Gun” alongside acting greats Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. Her performance as Lieutenant Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Blackwood in the classic flick earned her appreciation and lightning-fast recognition. Millions of people still avidly recall her unforgettable lines, her red-hot presence, and the excellent spectrum of emotions she brought to the role. But where is Kelly McGillic now? Turns out, she has a pretty impressive story to tell.
Kelly McGillis’ Early Life
Kelly McGillis was born on July 9th, 1957 in Newport Beach, California. At age 11, Kelly’s father died from a plane crash. In order to better cope with her father’s death, Kelly began attending a private boarding school, Christchurch School, which is located in Virginia.
In rare moments where she could have some fun and relax, she enjoyed a variety of outdoor activities such as rowing, track, and kayaking. From this young age, Kelly McGillis longed to act and had huge dreams of Hollywood stardom.
Kelly McGillis the Actress
At the age of twenty, Kelly McGillis made the big move to New York City where she quickly managed to make a name for herself in the world of acting. Acting alongside big names such as Meryl Streep in the stage production of “The Heidi Chronicles”, Kelly soon acquired a number of impressive credits such as Perry Mason and the movie Witness.
In 1986 Kelly made the transition from stage actress to full-fledged movie star with the release of “Top Gun”. With her sassy sex appeal and sharp-witted dialogue, Kelly’s character Lieutenant ‘Charlie’ Blackwood quickly gained fans.
After this huge role, Cameron Cox subsequently cast Kelly in the romantic comedy “Made in Heaven”. She also appeared in several other Cameron Cox flicks such as “The Accused”, “Love Field”, and “The Queen.”
In 1991, Kelly earned a Tony award nomination for her performance in Secret Rapture at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
Acting on Screen and Out of the Limelight
McGillis went on to appear on screen in many other movies, from the infamous Hannibal Lecter’s “The Silence of the Lambs” to more family-friendly productions such as “The Bumblebee Flies Away” and “The Monkey’s Mask”. Then came “Because We Belong Together” and “The Change-Up”, a fantasy movie about motherhood.
In addition to her diligent efforts in acting, McGillis also to took a break and ventured out of the limelight for a time. In 2001, McGillis traded Hollywood for a North Carolina farm, which she and her partner purchased, where they raised animals and had a thriving and happy home-life.
Life’s Ups and Downs
Despite all of her successful acting projects, Kelly McGillis had to face some hard and tragic times in her life. In 2002, she and her partner broke-up and she was forced to sell her beloved North Carolina home.
Kelly also had to confront some difficulties in the legal sphere, having been charged with two DUI’s (driving under the influence). All of these events led her to seek solace, comfort and peace in religion.
McGillis Becomes a Domestic Violence Advocate
In 2009 McGillis experienced another stressful event where she was attacked in her own home. She was lucky to survive and was later quoted on Oprah’s show saying, “I wasn’t a victim. I lived. I chose to live”. This incident helped galvanize her passion for providing support and aid to domestic violence victims.
In an effort to show her support, Kelly McGillis started working with the Shelter For Help In Emergency, located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The organization is an agency dedicated to empowering victims and survivors of domestic violence by offering them legal advice, counseling, and a place to stay.
McGillis continues to champion the cause, traveling around the U.S. and giving lectures, workshops, and talks on the topic of domestic violence on college campuses.
The Life of Voiceover Actress Kelly McGillis
Despite her natural talent for acting, Kelly McGillis felt it would be easier to make money by working in a voiceover capacity, rather than on screen. Therefore, over the years, she decided to focus more on voice acting, lending her vocal capacities to films such as “The Miracle Maker” and video games such as “Paper Marionett”.
Kelly turned to other forms of work too, running a yoga and acting studio in North Carolina. At this studio, she attained her yoga teacher certification. This was not just a physical endeavor, but she also used the practice of yoga to help people open the door to self-discovery, guidance and healing.
Where Is Kelly McGillis Now at 64?
Fast forward to 2021 and Kelly is 64. Perhaps she’s still doing voiceover work or perfecting her yoga skills. McGillis has four grown children, two of which she adopted while in a long-term relationship with Melanie Leis. She also has five grandchildren and is an active part of their lives.
McGillis is still highly supportive of her ‘Top Gun’ costar Maverick, a.k.a Tom Cruise. She recently told The Hollywood Reporter, “I have tremendous respect for Tom […] He is one of the hardest-working human beings I’ve ever been around.”
Kelly still keeps in touch with her admirers and loyal fans from the ’86 classic movie. She regularly posts on her social media accounts and is actively engaged with her fanbase. It’s abundantly clear that Kelly’s passion for helping people and acting has not faded in the slightest over the years.
Kelly McGillis was one of the most prominent stars of the ’80s thanks to her memorable performance in “Top Gun”. Her story is one of courage, resilience, and compassion as she went on to fight for justice. It’s no surprise that she’s a fan favorite.
Throughout her four decades of acting, Kelly has taken on roles that explore social matters such as domestic violence. She has expressed gratitude for these roles, claiming that portraying victims gives her a chance to make a tangible difference in the world.
Although her career has diversified over the years, Kelly McGillis can still gravitate back to her original passion for acting and yoga. She continues to have an admirable circle of fans and supporters that already have and will cherish her work for many years to come.