- Category : Actress
- Type : GP
- Profile : 3/5 - Martyr / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (20)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Penetration 2
Kelly Ann McGillis (born July 9, 1957) is an American actress. She found fame for her roles in several films throughout the 1980s including her roles as Rachel Lapp in Witness (1985) for which she received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations, Charlie in Top Gun (1986) and Kathryn Murphy in The Accused (1988). After her appearance in Cat Chaser (1989), she was discouraged from acting and took a break for a few years.
Early life and education
McGillis was born in Newport Beach, California, the daughter of Virginia Joan (née Snell), a homemaker, and Donald Manson McGillis, a general practitioner of medicine.
She attended the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, California. In 1979, she moved to New York City to study acting at the Juilliard School, where she graduated in 1983. While at Juilliard she performed in William Congreve's Love for Love, directed by John Blatchley.
Her breakout role was that of an Amish mother in the 1985 film Witness with Harrison Ford, for which she received Golden Globe and BAFTA award nominations. Her next high profile role was that of flight instructor Charlie in the 1986 fighter-pilot film Top Gun with Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer. After 1988's The Accused, she appeared in Cat Chaser with Peter Weller, a film she despised and which discouraged her from pursuing an acting career. McGillis appeared in dozens of television and film roles throughout the 1990s before taking a break from acting for a few years.
In 2004, she appeared in the stage play The Graduate as Mrs. Robinson, touring the United States. She began working in television again in 2006, then in 2007, she joined the cast of Showtime's The L Word for its fifth season. McGillis starred in a Pasadena Playhouse stage production of Little Foxes by Lillian Hellman in May 2009, co-starring with Julia Duffy.
She had a role in the 2010 vampire film Stake Land, directed by Jim Mickle. She stars alongside Nick Damici, Connor Paolo and Danielle Harris. McGillis was featured in a breast cancer docu-drama titled 1 a Minute, released in 2010. She also appeared in a production of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune by Terrence McNally, which toured the United Kingdom in 2010. She starred in Ti West's 2011 thriller The Innkeepers.
McGillis married Boyd Black in 1979, divorcing in 1981.
She and a female friend were assaulted, bombarded with racial slurs, and raped in February of 1982 at knifepoint by two men who broke into her New York apartment. One of the rapists was 15-year-old Leroy Johnson, who was on the run from juvenile detention. This experience encouraged the actress to pursue her film role as the lawyer who supports Jodie Foster's character in The Accused.
She married Fred Tillman in 1989, and they had two daughters: Kelsey and Sonora. The couple divorced in 2002. She also has two grandchildren.
She came out as a lesbian in April 2009 during an interview with SheWired.com, an LGBT-oriented web site. McGillis said that coming to terms with her sexual orientation has been an ongoing process since age 12, and she was long convinced that God was punishing her for being homosexual. In 2010, Kelly McGillis entered into a civil union with Melanie Leis, a Philadelphia based sales executive; she and McGillis met in 2000 when Leis was a bartender at the restaurant she owned with her then-husband.
McGillis worked full-time with drug addicts and alcoholics at Seabrook House Drug Alcohol Rehab Center, a rehabilitation center in Bridgeton, New Jersey when she and Leis shared a home in Collingswood.
McGillis lives in North Carolina, where she teaches acting at The New York Studio for Stage & Screen in Asheville.