Tom Cruise’s ascent to fame was sparked by the classic Top Gun film.
Nevertheless, Kelly McGillis, who played his love interest in the film, took a very opposite route.
The 65-year-old actress is now difficult to recognize since she has endured a lot of age discrimination in recent years.
About 1987, in Los Angeles, California, Kelly McGillis. (Picture courtesy of Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images) “n I don’t believe I was the only one who, while seeing the sequel to the beloved 1980s movie Top Gun: Maverick, couldn’t help but think about Kelly McGillis. Even though I was certain that she wouldn’t show up, I nonetheless held out hope that I would.
McGillis obviously never arrived, while Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer reconnected in an extremely moving scene. McGillis claims that she was not approached to join the cast. In 2019, Entertainment Tonight questioned if the creators of Top Gun: Maverick had approached her for a part in the follow-up.
My God, no. They didn’t, and I don’t believe they ever will, McGillis added.
“I mean, that whole sequence is not about the fact that I’m overweight and elderly and look my age,” the actor said.
A desk is where Kelly McGillis is seated in a scene from the 1986 movie Top Gun. (Image: Paramount via Getty Images )
The 65-year-old actress didn’t appear to bother that she wasn’t cast in Top Gun: Maverick, the blockbuster hit of 2022.
Instead of putting a value on all those other stuff, she remarked, “I’d much rather feel fully confident in my skin and who and what I am at my age.”
The real story behind her Top Gun persona
McGillis was one of just a few women who could earn million-dollar fees in the 1980s. The well-known actress played astronomer and training school instructor Charlie Blackwood in the movie Top Gun.
As Maverick’s love interest, the blonde, long-legged, and stunning actress left a lasting impression; her smart-but-beautiful persona became famous.
According to McGillis, “I don’t believe anything prepared me for what I assume was becoming a household name type of thing.”
“I found it to be really daunting. I have no desire to be well-known. My reality was much stunned by that movie since all I want to do is be an actress. I became quite uneasy. I was uncertain of my friends’ loyalty anymore.
In reality, Christine Fox served as the model for Charlie. When conducting research for the film, the creators had the opportunity to meet Fox, a well-known civilian flying instructor and mathematician.
She would go on to have a successful career at the Pentagon, rising to the highest position ever held by a woman at the Department of Defense when she was named Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense.
It was quite coincidental that Kelly McGillis landed the part of Charlie. She was supposed to star in another film, but it was cancelled. McGillis accepted the call from Paramount asking to work on Top Gun instead since she loved the screenplay, and she subsequently went to San Diego for the shoot.
“I thought the sky looked like a Western. I had no idea how well presented it would be aesthetically. She stated, “I believe Tony Scott added so lot visually to that movie.
McGillis’s part in Top Gun made her a sex icon, but she was also praised for her on-screen work. Kelly clearly enjoyed her co-star off-set, and there was apparent connection between the two of them on-screen.
“Tom is great, in my opinion. He’s the nicest man ever. He is really serious, considerate, and real. And working with Tom was absolutely wonderful. He is amazing, in my opinion,” she remarked.
At the time, Grace Kelly, Ingrid Bergman, and Lauren Bacall were mentioned in comparison to McGillis as famous cinematic beauties.
Kelly, though, was unable to take the parallel seriously.
“I’ve never considered myself to be very beautiful. She stated in 1986, “I think principally I was quite over-weight and had a very low self-esteem in my adolescence and prepubescent years, when one establishes one’s notions of oneself.McGillis played Charlie in Top Gun, which is why I and many other people remember her, but it wouldn’t be fair to McGillis to merely discuss that film because she has accomplished so much more in her life and work.
She made a splash in Hollywood in 1985 thanks to her breakthrough performance as an Amish widow in Witness. She acted as a strong lawyer in the contentious movie The Accused after her triumph with Top Gun. The 1990s saw McGillis cast in a number of television and film roles, but none of them helped further her career.
Professor Diana Maitland as portrayed by Kelly McGillis in “The Monkey’s Mask” / Flickr
The outspoken actress then defied all conventions and abandoned Hollywood. She chopped her blonde hair, left Hollywood, refused to act in the scripts she was offered, had children, and gained weight.
“I believe that only my priorities have changed. It wasn’t like I made a big choice to quit; I simply felt like other things took priority,” she said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.After leaving Hollywood, she put her family first and spent the necessary time to raise her now-adult daughters, Sonora and Kelsey.
Soon after the debut of The Accused, McGillis fell in love with Fred Tillman, a man with no ties to the entertainment industry. Yet, Kelly and Fred had similar interests in sailing and beaches.
Kelly, who was born in 1957 and spent her childhood in Newport Beach, California, feeling the beach under her toes, thought she had finally found the guy of her dreams.
After getting married and purchasing a boat, McGillis and Tillman set sail for Europe.
After that, the family relocated to Key West, Florida, where they co-founded Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Restaurant.
The past, however, always seemed to catch up with McGillis. The Top Gun actress said that she wasn’t fleeing to Florida because she was having personal problems.
She drank too much and struggled with her sexual identity. She was a wreck for over a year.
“I never truly felt depressed. It’s simply that I wanted to lead a life of my own choosing and restore my anonymity. In my opinion, you should be the one to take care of your children if you have any. She told The Daily Telegraph in 1999, “I didn’t want my kids to see me as a movie star; I wanted them to know me as Mommy.
Tillman and McGillis were divorced in 2002. She revealed her sexual orientation as a lesbian in an interview with SheWired seven years later. The actress said that she had been working on coming out ever since she was 12 years old.
She said, “Life is a tremendous adventure, and it’s about growing and developing, and accepting who you are and embracing who you are.
Melanie Leis, a bartender, was someone McGillis met while she was managing her Key West restaurant. Tragically, their relationship was unstable and toxic; they both struggled with various drugs and entered rehab. McGillis drank too much.
Yet in 2010, the criminal companions wed in New Jersey. Fred Tillman, McGillis’ ex-husband, was present at the civil union ceremony.
McGillis told the Daily News, “He was my greatest, best buddy, and he still is. I was homosexual before I had kids. It was incredibly difficult for me to accept who I am.
2011 saw the breakup of Kelly McGillis and Melanie Leis.
Kelly is claimed to be now residing in a log cabin in Hendersonville, North Carolina’s hills. She keeps her gray hair short and favors wearing comfortable jeans while living a calm, contented life away from Hollywood.
In Asheville, North Carolina, I am mostly focused on teaching acting individually in a small studio that is associated with a school. In 2014, she stated, “I feel like it’s time for me to give back, and I know how to accomplish it.
When one looks at McGillis today, it is obvious that she has abandoned her own acting career. It has been a while since we last saw her on television; her most recent acknowledged role was in the TV drama Maternal Secrets in 2018.
You always hear ladies my age talking about this, she remarked. “I believe that women over 50 are not treated very well by this sector. I’m not a fan of having my hair colored, getting Botox, or getting a facelift. In 2013, she stated, “I want to become a character actor when I grow up.”
As already indicated, Kelly made several press appearances in 2022. Many were curious about what happened to her and why she wasn’t chosen for the sequel to Top Gun: Maverick because she wasn’t in it.
Kelly was taken out of the movie because, according to director Joseph Kosinski, he wanted to take it in a new way with other characters. Kosinski asserted that it had nothing to do with her beauty.
For those of us who got to see Kelly McGillis in her prime, she will always be the sexy astrophysical engineer. A lady like her in the first Top Gun is a role model that can never be equaled. Period.
To quit such a career in order to take care of oneself and put her family first requires so much more elegance and beauty. I find that to be the most astounding thing.