‘Top Gun’s’ Kelly McGillis grows up

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Great beauties don’t often morph into character actors, but that’s exactly the career path Kelly McGillis is working toward. At 51, the ‘80s hottie, who made the heart of Tom Cruise’s pilot character go pitapat in the 1986 film “Top Gun,” says she’s disconcerted by Hollywood heartthrobs who go under the plastic surgeon’s knife to hold on to the bloom of youth.

“I personally have a tough time with – and I’m not only talking about L.A., I’m talking about across the board in this culture of America – this whole thing of erasing our uniqueness, our individuality and looking like everybody else,” McGillis said recently. “I don’t think it’s interesting. I don’t laud it, and I don’t aspire to it. I just think it’s kind of scary to walk down the street and see people looking the same, the homogenized plastic surgery look.

“I can’t imagine what it must be like psychologically to be 70 years old and live in a 70-year-old body and look in the mirror to see a 25-year-old staring back. To me, that’s baffling. I can understand why women do that, because we live in such a youth culture. I’m here to say that for me, I believe my work and my value come from how I behave, what I do.”

McGillis, who came out last month on the lesbian website, stars as Regina Giddens in the Pasadena Playhouse production of Lillian Hellman’s classic “The Little Foxes,” which opens May 29.


Read more about McGillis in Sunday’s Arts & Books section or click here.

-- Irene Lacher

Top photo: Kelly McGillis at the Pasadena Playhouse. Credit:Stefano Paltera / For The Times

– Irene Lacher