Kelly Mcginnis or Kelly McGillis is a retired American actress who rose to fame for her role as Charlie, the flight instructor and love interest of Tom Cruise’s character in the blockbuster film Top Gun (1986). She also starred in other notable movies such as Witness (1985), The Accused (1988), and Stake Land (2010). In this blog post, we will explore her incredible life journey, from her early days in California to her recent years in North Carolina.
Early Life and Education
Kelly Mcginnis was born on July 9, 1957, in Newport Beach, California, as Kelly Ann McGillis. She is the eldest of three daughters of Donald Manson McGillis, a physician, and Virginia Joan Snell, a homemaker. She has Scots-Irish, German, and Welsh ancestry.
She attended Newport Harbor High School but dropped out in 1975 to pursue acting. She moved to New York City and enrolled in the Juilliard School, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1983.
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Kelly Mcginnis made her film debut in Reuben, Reuben (1983), but her breakthrough role came two years later when she played Rachel Lapp, an Amish widow who falls in love with a police officer (Harrison Ford) in Witness (1985). The film was a critical and commercial success, and earned Mcginnis Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actress.
She followed up with another hit film, Top Gun (1986), where she played Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood, a civilian flight instructor who teaches and romances Maverick (Tom Cruise), a reckless fighter pilot. The film was the highest-grossing film of 1986 and cemented Mcginnis’s status as a leading lady.
She continued to work in films throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, appearing in Made in Heaven (1987), The House on Carroll Street (1988), The Accused (1988), The Babe (1992), and North (1994), among others. She also starred in several television movies and shows, such as Private Sessions (1985), Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories (1991), One Life to Live (1994-1995), and The Outer Limits (1997).
Later Career and Retirement
Kelly Mcginnis’s career slowed down in the late 1990s and 2000s, as she focused more on her personal life and family. She still appeared in some films, such as At First Sight (1999), Morgan’s Ferry (2001), Stake Land (2010), The Innkeepers (2011), and We Are What We Are (2013). She also returned to the stage, performing in plays such as The Merchant of Venice (1999), The Graduate (2004), Annie Oakley: An American Legend (2008), and Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (2014).
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In 2020, she announced her retirement from acting, stating that she was “done with Hollywood” and that she had no interest in reprising her role as Charlie in the sequel Top Gun: Maverick (2021). She said that she was happy living a simple life on her farm in North Carolina, where she raises animals and runs a bed-and-breakfast.
Personal Life and Relationships
Kelly Mcginnis has been married twice and has two daughters. Her first marriage was to Boyd Black, a fellow Juilliard student, from 1979 to 1981. Her second marriage was to Fred Tillman, an airline pilot, from 1989 to 2002. They have two daughters together: Kelsey Lauren Tillman (born 1990) and Sonora Ashley Tillman (born 1993).
In 2009, Mcginnis came out as a lesbian and revealed that she was in a relationship with Melanie Leis, a sales executive whom she met in 2000 when Leis was a bartender at a restaurant owned by Mcginnis. They had a civil union ceremony in New Jersey in 2010 but broke up in 2011.
Mcginnis has also faced several challenges and traumas in her life. In 1979, she was raped by two men at knifepoint in her apartment. In 1982, she was assaulted by an intruder who broke into her home. In 2009, she was attacked by a woman who broke into her house while she was sleeping. She has also struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction, which she overcame with the help of therapy and rehab.
Kelly Mcginnis Net Worth
Kelly Mcginnis, also known as Kelly McGillis, is an American actress who has a net worth of $4 million as of 2022. She is best known for her roles in movies such as “Witness”, “Top Gun”, and “The Accused”. She started her acting career in 1983 after graduating from Juilliard School. She has also appeared in several stage plays and TV shows. She came out as queer in 2009 and has been in a relationship with Melanie Leis since then.
Kelly Mcginnis is an actress who has left a lasting impression on many fans and viewers with her performances in films such as Top Gun, Witness, and The Accused. She has also lived a remarkable life, full of highs and lows, joys and sorrows, successes and failures. She is now enjoying a peaceful and quiet retirement on her farm, away from the spotlight and the pressures of Hollywood. She is a woman who has shown courage, resilience, and authenticity throughout her life.