Kelly McGillis

Active - 1984 - 2017  |   Born - Jul 9, 1957 in Newport Beach, California, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Thriller, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Actress Kelly McGillis claims to have been a lonely, overweight adolescent who found an escape from her misery through acting. She studied at Pacific Conservatory of Performing Arts and Julliard, making an impressive film debut as the erstwhile lady friend/"savior" of drunken poet Tom Conti in 1983's Reuben, Reuben. McGillis spent considerable time with an Amish family to prepare for her next important film role as a young Amish widow in 1985's Witness; the family wasn't happy in retrospect, claiming that Kelly misrepresented her interest in their lifestyle. The actress's best role since Witness has been as the attorney defending rape victim Jodie Foster in The Accused (1988); during production, McGillis made public the story of her own earlier rape, and became a militant advocate for assault victim' rights. In 1992, McGillis was second-billed in The Babe (1992) as Claire Hodgson, the no-nonsense second wife of baseball great Babe Ruth (John Goodman). She subtly spoofed her breakout role in Witness in the comedy North, and went on to appear in a variety of projects including We the Jury, Perfect Prey, The Settlement, and At First Sight, After appearing in The Monkey's Mask in 200, she disappeared from screens (outside of voiceover work) until 2010's Skate Land, and having a major role in 2011's The Innkeepers.

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  • Dropped out of high school her senior year to pursue acting.
  • Breakthrough role was a soft-spoken Amish widow opposite Harrison Ford's detective in Witness (1985).
  • Best known for playing Tom Cruise's love interest, Charlotte Blackwood, in the 1986 smash Top Gun.
  • Garnered critical acclaim for her performance as a sex-crimes prosecutor in the 1988 crime drama The Accused; she said her performance was inspired by her own rape in 1982.
  • Made her Broadway debut in 1994, starring in the Roundabout Theatre Company's production of Hedda Gabler.
  • Played Mrs. Robinson in the 2004 national touring company of The Graduate.
  • Mother, Joan, runs the Key West Theatre Festival.