Kelly McGillis Top Gun Age: From 80s Icon to Now

Kelly McGillis Top Gun Age

Kelly McGillis rose to fame in the 1980s, particularly with her role in “Top Gun.” This article explores her journey from a young actress to her current status, including the impact of her age on her career and her iconic role in “Top Gun.”

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Who is Kelly McGillis in “Top Gun”?

Kelly McGillis played the character of Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood in “Top Gun,” a key role that earned her significant acclaim. She starred alongside Tom Cruise, bringing a powerful and memorable performance to the film.

Early Life

Born on July 9, 1957, in Newport Beach, California, Kelly McGillis was the eldest of three daughters. Her upbringing in Southern California set the stage for her eventual entry into the world of acting.


McGillis pursued her passion for acting by attending the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts and later the prestigious Juilliard School, where she honed her craft and graduated in 1983.


Kelly McGillis’ career took off with her role in “Witness” (1985), which was followed by her iconic role in “Top Gun” (1986). She continued to appear in various films and TV shows, transitioning into horror films in her later career.

Kelly McGillis Top Gun Age

During the filming of “Top Gun” in 1986, Kelly McGillis was 29 years old, portraying the character of Charlie, a flight instructor and love interest of Tom Cruise’s character.

Who is the Leading Lady in “Top Gun”?

In the original “Top Gun,” Kelly McGillis played the leading lady, capturing the hearts of audiences with her compelling performance as Charlie.

Why was Kelly McGillis not in “Top Gun 2”?

Kelly McGillis was not included in the sequel “Top Gun: Maverick.” She believes her absence was due to her age and appearance, which she feels don’t align with Hollywood’s traditional standards for leading ladies.

Return to Film and TV

McGillis returned to acting with roles in TV series and films, notably appearing in “The L Word” and several horror movies, including “Stake Land” and “The Innkeepers.”

Personal Life

Kelly McGillis has led a life marked by personal challenges and triumphs. She has been married twice and has two daughters. In 2009, she publicly came out as a lesbian and entered into a civil union with Melanie Leis, which was later dissolved.

2016 Home Invasion

In 2016, McGillis was assaulted during a home invasion, which led her to advocate for self-defense and apply for a concealed carry permit.


Kelly McGillis’ journey from an 80s film icon to her current life reflects a diverse and resilient career. Despite facing challenges related to aging in Hollywood, she remains a beloved figure known for her memorable roles.

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FAQs about Kelly McGillis Top Gun
  1. How did Kelly McGillis’ role in “Top Gun” impact her career?
    • Her role as Charlie in “Top Gun” significantly boosted her profile, making her a well-known figure in Hollywood.
  2. What other notable films has Kelly McGillis starred in?
    • Beyond “Top Gun,” she is known for “Witness,” “Made in Heaven,” and “The Accused.”
  3. How has Kelly McGillis embraced her age in her career?
    • McGillis has openly discussed aging in Hollywood and has chosen roles that are age-appropriate, reflecting her acceptance of her natural aging process.
  4. What is Kelly McGillis doing now?
    • As of the latest updates, she resides in North Carolina and has been involved in teaching acting.
  5. Has Kelly McGillis expressed any regrets about not being in “Top Gun 2”?
    • McGillis has spoken about the industry’s focus on youth and beauty, implying acceptance of not being part of the sequel due to these standards.

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