Kelly McGillis (Actress) - Top Gun
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Updated: 4/12/19

Name: Kelly McGillis

Birth Name: Kelly Ann McGillis

Born: July 9, 1957 in Newport Beach, California, USA

Claim To Fame: Kelly McGillis is an American actress best known for her film role as Rachel Lapp in Witness (1985) with Harrison Ford, for which she received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations. Her other memorable roles include flight instructor Charlie in Top Gun (1986) with Tom Cruise, and as Kathryn Murphy in The Accused (1988) with Jodie Foster.

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Family Life: McGillis married fellow Juilliard student Boyd Black in 1979, but the couple divorced in 1981. She married Fred Tillman in 1989, and they have two daughters. The couple divorced in 2002. In 2010, McGillis entered into a civil union with Melanie Leis, a Philadelphia sales executive. Their relationship only lasted a year.

Info: Studied at Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts and Juilliard.

McGillis was offered the role of Sarah Tobias in The Accused (1988), but having survived a violent sexual assault in 1982 by two men who broke into her apartment, she declined the role and instead fought for the part of Kathryn Murphy.

McGillis and her then-husband Fred Tillman owned the Kelly's Caribbean Bar Grill & Brewery in Key West, Florida. They sold the restaurant in June 2017.

McGillis worked full-time with drug addicts and alcoholics at Seabrook House Drug Alcohol Rehab Center, a rehabilitation center in Bridgeton, New Jersey.

McGillis confirmed long-held rumors when she came out as a lesbian in April 2009 during an interview with SheWired.

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Trivia: Listed as one of twelve "Promising New Actors of 1984" in John Willis' Screen World, Vol. 36.

Was fired from the film Bachelor Party (1984) allegedly because the producers thought she wasn't pretty or sexy enough.

Kelly McGillis was working in a Greenwich Village coffee house when Harrison Ford and Peter Weir went there to see her, and offer her the role of Rachel in Witness (1985).

In preparation for her role in Witness (1985), Kelly McGillis lived with an actual Amish widow and her seven children for a while before filming began to get the speech cadence down and to observe the daily life of an Amish widowed mother.

In Top Gun, the elevator scene (in which Maverick and Charlie meet after his workout) was filmed post-production. Kelly McGillis's hair had already been colored for another movie role, which is why she is wearing a hat.

Auditioned for the role of Catherine Tramell in Basic Instinct (1992).

In 2004, she performed on stage as "Mrs. Robinson" in the national touring company of the play "The Graduate."

Where Are They Now: McGillis currently lives in Hendersonville, North Carolina. She teaches acting at The New York Studio for Stage and Screen NYS3 in Asheville, North Carolina. And she's acting on the small screen appearing in the occasional TV movie.


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