Next week, McGillis will be the featured speaker at the New York Studio for Stage and Screen in Asheville. Meantime, check out Verve Editor Melanie Bianchie-McGee’s Q&A with McGillis. A snippett:
Her career touched off when she was nominated for a Golden Globe for playing a conflicted Amish mother in the 1985 murder drama Witness, with Harrison Ford. In 1987, she starred as a lawyer in The Accused after having turned down the lead role of a gang-rape survivor, played by Jodie Foster. Shortly thereafter, McGillis publicly revealed that she had also endured a brutal rape, while studying acting in New York City in the early ’80s.
Entering the ’90s, McGillis dropped out of Hollywood, got married and had two daughters. “Motherhood became my priority,” she says. She lived in Key West, and, with her husband, ran a bar named in her honor. There, she met the woman who would one day be her romantic partner: Melanie Leis. (A year after McGillis announced she was gay, she and Leis were united in a civil ceremony captured in such media outlets as the New York Times; they’ve since split.)
In recent years, McGillis has crept back on the artistic radar. She appeared on Showtime’s The L Word, in indie films (including the forthcoming What Could Have Been and Tio Papi), and on stage, playing Mrs. Robinson in a touring version of The Graduate.
And, just for kicks, let’s go back to Top Gun one more time for some of that steamy on-screen chemistry between Tom Cruise and McGillis, all set to Take My Breath Away by Berlin.
It’s hard to decide who is prettier in this clip, Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis.
Cruise has definitely aged better.