How Old Was Kelly McGillis in Top Gun and What Does She Look Like Now?

Kelly McGillis was 29 years old when she featured in Top Gun in 1986. She is presently 66 years old, although she did not feature in Top Gun 2.

The actress has added on some pounds. She also has the weathered looks associated with aging and maintains her hair in a functional bob. Kelly McGillis is at peace with how she looks and describes it as age appropriate. Hollywood has not been so accepting, though. Because McGillis has not kept up with the high standards of the industry, it has affected her acting career, and it is believed that this is the reason why she is not in Top Gun 2.

What is Kelly McGillis’ Age Now?

Kelly McGillis is currently 66 years old. The actress was born on the 9th of July 1957 in California. She is of Caucasian ethnicity and has American nationality. McGillis has endured a lot of highs and lows in the course of her career, but she has still managed to make a mark in Hollywood.

In a career that dates back to the 80s, she has been featured in several movies and TV series. Some of them are Maternal Secrets (2018), Blue (2015), Grand Street (2014), Love Finds You In Sugar Creek (2014), Z Nation (2014), An Uncommon Grace (2017), Top Gun (1986), Witness (1983) and The Accused (1986).

McGillis has received several award nods, including a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress in 1986 and a BAFTA award nomination for best actress in 1986. McGillis has also built up a net worth of $4 million which is nothing to be scoffed at.

How Old was Kelly McGillis When She Started Acting?

Kelly McGillis began acting at the age of 26, with her first role coming in the 1983 comedy-drama Reuben Reuben. Before making that humble bow, Kelly McGillis first fell in love with acting while in high school and later decided to pursue it as a career path. Her parents were none too happy with the decision, but she stuck by her guns and left home to pursue acting in the late 70s.

She underwent acting classes at the prestigious Julliard School to prepare herself and auditioned for several roles. She finally got her debut in Reuben Reuben. The film revolves around a struggling poet who inadvertently commits suicide, and McGillis portrays his female love interest. She gave a good account of herself and landed roles in other movies, including a career-defining one in Top Gun (1986).

Kelly McGillis
Kelly McGillis in 2014 Image Source

How Old was Kelly McGillis in Top Gun 1?

Kelly McGillis was 29 years old in Top Gun 1. It was released in 1986 and revolved around a high-flying but strong-headed naval aviator, Maverick, who is sent for training at a flight school and subsequently sent out on missions. The movie featured Tom Cruise in the lead role of Pete Maverick Mitchell, while the likes of Kelly McGillis and Meg Ryan had supporting roles.

Top Gun performed tremendously well at the box office. It grossed $357 million. It also received praise and awards for its visuals and its soundtrack. It was simply a monster hit, and it catapulted Kelly McGillis from a rising star to national and even global stardom. It ensured that she would remain evergreen.

What was Kelly McGillis’ Top Gun Character?

Kelly McGillis played the role of Charlie Blackwood in Top Gun 1. Kelly McGillis’ Top Gun character is an astrophysicist and a civilian instructor in the flight school, the Naval Fighter Weapons School, aka Top Gun, that the lead character, Maverick, attends. She is one of his teachers and also ends up as his love interest.

The two started on the wrong foot, though. The first time that they meet at a bar, Maverick propositions Charlie, but she turns him down. They later bump into each other in class and come to develop a mutual respect for each other’s abilities. They subsequently develop a relationship and, despite many ups and downs, reunite at the end of the film.

Kelly McGillis’ Top Gun character is based on a real-life person named Christine Fox. Fox is a civilian employee at the Naval Air station Miramar and has received several honors for her outstanding work. She served as the acting deputy secretary of defense from December 2013 to May 2014, making her the highest-ranking woman to serve in the US Department of Defense.

Kelly McGillis
Kelly McGillis and Tom Cruise in Top Gun 1 in 1986 Image Source

Why was Kelly McGillis Not in Top Gun 2?

Due to the huge success of Top Gun 1, plans for a sequel started in the 80s. These plans took several detours and years, but they later came to fruition in 2022 when Top Gun 2 was released. This was 36 years after Top Gun 1, and while Tom Cruise reprised his role as a Maverick, Kelly McGillis was nowhere to be seen, prompting questions about her absence.

There is no consensus on the reason why Kelly McGillis is not in Top Gun 2. This is due to the different reasons from different quarters. The director of Top Gun 2, Joseph Kosinski, has stated that the reason why Kelly McGillis is not in Top Gun 2 is that they didn’t want the film to rehash all the old angles.

They wanted to give the film some fresh perspectives in several areas, and one of them was to bring in a new love interest for Maverick named Penny Benjamin. She was mentioned in passing in Top Gun 1 but not seen on screen.

Kelly McGillis believes that the reason she is not in Top Gun 2 is because of her appearance. In the actress’ own words, she looks appropriate for someone of her age i.e. she looks old and fat, and that is not what the industry wants but rather unrealistic standards of beauty. McGillis isn’t too bothered by the overlook, as the most important thing to her is to feel secure in her skin.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis in recent years Image Source

What Does Kelly McGillis Look Like Now?

Kelly McGillis looks older and bigger now. The actress was a tall sexy blonde with a bombshell body in Top Gun 1. However, she is presently 66 years old and looks like a typical lady of her age. Her skin is a bit wrinkled, and she has piled on some pounds over the years. She also carries her hair in a functional short bob rather than the long flowing tresses that fans remember her for.

Kelly McGillis’ current looks have come as a bit of a shock to fans, especially because her co-star, Tom Cruise, is still looking so young and sexy. A look at McGillis side-by-side with Tom Cruise in the present day will have you thinking that she is so many years older than him rather than just the five-year difference between them.

McGillis could look so much better by undergoing some surgical and non-surgical procedures here and there, but she has refused to toe that line. She feels comfortable in her skin.


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