Kelly Mcgillis’s Net Worth: From Top Gun to Present

Kelly Mcgillis’s Net Worth: From Top Gun to Present

Written by Mark Williams, In Celeb, Published On
January 16, 2024

With her girl-next-door looks and undeniable acting talent, Kelly McGillis captured the hearts of moviegoers in the 1980s thanks to memorable roles in films like Witness, Top Gun, and The Accused. Though she stepped back from the spotlight in the 1990s, she has recently reemerged on the independent film scene, proving her versatility in horror movies and Amish-themed TV films.

Now over 60 years into her impressive career, McGillis’s staying power demonstrates her broad artistic range and willingness to take on risky, complex characters. This is the story of a gifted performer who broke through playing an Amish mother, became the ’80s quintessential leading lady, and continues fearlessly reinventing herself to this day.

Kelly McGillis’s Bio

Year Born 1957
Birthplace Newport Beach, California
Ethnicity Scots-Irish, German, Welsh
Education Juilliard School
Breakout Role Witness (1985)
Most Famous Role Top Gun (1986)
Years Active 1983-present
Spouse(s) Boyd Black (div.), Fred Tillman (div.)
Children 2 daughters with Tillman

Early Life and Education

Kelly Ann McGillis was born on July 9, 1957, in Newport Beach, California, to Virginia Joan (née Snell), a homemaker, and Donald Manson McGillis, a physician. She has two younger sisters. McGillis is of Scots-Irish paternal ancestry and German maternal ancestry. She attended Newport Harbor High School and later got a GED in 1975 after dropping out of high school. McGillis then moved to New York City to study acting at the prestigious Juilliard School, graduating in 1983.

Film Career Highlights

kelly mcgillis net worth

McGillis started her film career playing Geneva Spofford in 1983’s Reuben. Her breakthrough came two years later with her portrayal of Amish mother Rachel Lapp in the 1985 drama Witness opposite Harrison Ford. The role earned her Golden Globe and BAFTA award nominations for Best Supporting Actress.

In 1986, she starred as flight instructor Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood in the blockbuster action film Top Gun with Tom Cruise. Other notable film projects have included 1987’s romantic drama Made in Heaven, 1988’s historical drama The House on Carroll Street, and 1988’s courtroom drama The Accused.

Later Films and TV Roles

kelly mcgillis net worth

After stepping away from Hollywood for a few years in the 1990s, McGillis returned to acting in a string of TV movies and independent films in the 2000s. These have included a recurring role in The L Word (2007-2008), as well as parts in the horror films Stake Land (2010), The Innkeepers (2011), and We Are What We Are (2013). Recently, she has starred in several Amish-themed TV movies like Love Finds You in Sugarcreek, Ohio (2014) and An Uncommon Grace (2017).

The actress returned to acting in 2006 after a five-year break.

After Top Gun, Kelly McGillis’ resume is vast, perhaps shockingly. Many moviegoers remember her with Top Gun, although she’s had success since the ’80s hit. McGillis paused acting for five years after 2001’s Morgan’s Ferry. In 2007, she starred in the documentary Girl 27, but McGillis returned to acting in 2006, filming Supergator, a B-horror film released the following year.

The movie Supergator appears to be a turn, but the monster movie changed McGillis’s career. After the film, she appeared in many horror films, including Stake Land, The Innkeepers, and We Are What We Are, which were selected for the Sundance Film Festival. Although she took a break from cinema, she appeared in archival material for the 2021 documentary Val. She had minor roles in TV episodes like Showtime’s The L Word and Syfy’s Z Nation.

In Top Gun: Maverick, Kelly McGillis didn’t return—is she retired?

Look no further for Kelly McGillis in Top Gun 2. McGillis appears in Top Gun: Maverick’s archive footage but not the sequel. Director Joseph Kosinski said the Maverick team carefully included legacy characters in the sequel, aiming to introduce new characters. Although Top Gun: Maverick doesn’t suffer without Charlie, McGillis says she “look[s] age-appropriate for my age, and that is not what that whole scene is about.”

Kelly Mcgillis’s Net Worth

kelly mcgillis net worth

While her exact net worth is not publicly known, it is estimated that Kelly McGillis has amassed a respectable fortune of $2-5 million as of 2023. The majority of her wealth likely comes from her extensive acting resume spanning over 40 years in the entertainment industry. Her paydays for starring in hit 1980s films like Witness and Top Gun, both major box office successes, contributed significantly to her current net worth.

Kelly McGillis Net Worth Growth

Year Net Worth (Million)
Kelly McGillis Net Worth in 2023 $10 Million
Kelly McGillis Net Worth in 2022 $9 Million
Kelly McGillis’s Net Worth in 2021 $8 Million
Kelly McGillis’s Net Worth in 2020 $7 Million
Kelly McGillis’s Net Worth in 2019 $6 Million
Kelly McGillis’s Net Worth in 2018 $5 Million

TV movie roles and guest appearances have also added to her bank account over the years. Though she has not matched the fame of her 1980s peak, McGillis has enjoyed a consistent acting career since with independent films and other projects. Careful financial management throughout her working life has allowed the 65-year-old actress to accumulate her estimated net worth of $2-5 million.


Kelly McGillis has shown incredible range and talent in a nearly 40-year career spanning film, TV, and theatre. While often remembered best for her iconic 1980s roles, she has continued taking on compelling, complex characters over the decades. Her victims’ rights drama The Accused and recent plunge into horror films DISPLAY her willingness to take risks and avoid typecasting herself. With diverse credits under her belt, McGillis has certainly cemented her place as one of the most versatile actresses of her generation.


What was Kelly McGillis’s breakout role?

Her breakout role was as Amish mother Rachel Lapp in the 1985 drama Witness with Harrison Ford.

How many times has she been nominated for a Golden Globe?

She has been nominated for a Golden Globe once for her supporting role in Witness.

Has Kelly McGillis been married?

Yes, she has been married twice – first to Boyd Black from 1979-1981 and then to Fred Tillman from 1989-2002. She has two daughters with Tillman.

What was her most famous film role?

Her most famous film role was that of flight instructor Charlotte “Charlie” Blackwood in the 1986 blockbuster Top Gun opposite Tom Cruise.

Is Kelly McGillis still acting?

Yes, Kelly McGillis continues her acting career today, mainly in independent films and TV movies, including recent roles in the horror genre.

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