Top Gun: Maverick is finally hitting theaters years after it concluded filming. The highly anticipated sequel brings Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer back, but one familiar face from the original Top Gun is missing: Kelly McGillis. What’s she up to now? Let’s take a look.
Who Is Kelly McGillis?
McGillis was raised in Los Angeles where she studied acting at Julliard. She was in the same group and year as Ving Rhames, who went on the star with Cruise in numerous Mission: Impossible films. McGillis’ career got off to a very hot start when she played an Amish mother and love interest in 1985’s Witness.
The film was nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. McGillis was personally nominated at the BAFTA’s and Golden Globes, losing to Peggy Ashcroft and Meg Tilly respectively. After Witness, McGillis continued her hot streak with Top Gun in 1986.
From there, McGillis starred in a series of critical and financial flops. Save for The Accused which solidified Jodie Foster as an adult star, McGillis was in features like The House on Carroll Street, Made in Heaven, and Cat Chaser. In an apparent reference to her Witness role, she played an Amish mother in the notorious flop North. While McGillis didn’t stop working throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, she never starred in another hit as big as her earliest films.
What’s She Been Up To?
In an interview with CNN in 2019, McGillis revealed she was not asked to return for Top Gun: Maverick. “Movies are odd things. I don’t really keep in touch with anybody.” She did reunite with Tom Cruise at the premiere of Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time. The night doubled as an honorary event for Jerry Bruckheimer, director of Top Gun.
Nowadays, McGillis doesn’t pay Hollywood any mind. She moved to North Carolina so she could focus on her sobriety: “I love acting, I love what I do, I love doing theater, but I don’t know,” she said. “To me, my relationships [with] other people became far more important than my relationship with fame.” McGillis worked full-time at Seabrook House Drug Alcohol Rehab Center when she lived in New Jersey.
Jennifer Connelley replaces McGillies as Cruise’s love interest, and McGillis doesn’t have any animosity toward her. She says she’s “so glad that [Connelly] got that opportunity.” It sounds like McGillis has a steady head on her shoulders and is focusing on what’s really important.
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