In 1986, a little movie was released starring a relatively unknown 24-year-old actor. It all stemmed from a simple idea, what if we made a movie about young fighter pilots? What Jerry Bruckheimer, Don Simpson, Tony Scott, and Tom Cruise made was a cultural phenomenon. 36 years later, the world is once again in love with Top Gun.

AFI & Walt Disney Pictures' "A Cinematic Celebration Of Jerry Bruckheimer"
Getty Images for AFI

There are certain movies that grant actors immortality. If an actor is in one of these productions, they are never forgotten. Top Gun is one of those movies. Anthony Edwards was the star of ER on television for years but to most people, he's still Goose. Miles Teller (Rooster), Glen Powell (Hangman), and Monica Barbaro (Phoenix) are sure to be stars after their involvement in Top Gun: Maverick.

Several cast members from Top Gun did not return for Top Gun: Maverick.

Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer are the only actors to reprise their Top Gun roles. It makes sense if you think about it. The characters are all where they belong. Maverick is still in the cockpit, Iceman is an admiral. The rest of the pilots from Top Gun are probably retired. Even if they didn't get called to return to the sequel, they're not forgotten about.

Two Top Gun actors are from Washington.

When you look for the best of the best, you search high and low. For the roles of Viper and Sundown, producers turned to Tom Skerritt and Clarence Gilyard.

What happened to Tom Skerritt?

Tom Skerritt
Getty Images

Tom Skerritt is still probably best known for playing Viper, one of the instructors at TOPGUN. Before Top Gun, Skerritt was in Alien, another 80's blockbuster. His roles include A River Runs Through ItM*A*S*H* (the original film), and Poltergeist III. He is still active as an actor and splits his time between his homes in Seattle and the San Juan Islands.

What happened to Clarence Gilyard?

Left Behind Premiere
Getty Images

Clarence Gilyard was born in Moses Lake to a military family. While he didn't live in Washington for long, we still claim him as ours forever. Gilyard found success after Top Gun in Die Hard and starring television roles in Walker, Texas Ranger opposite Chuck Norris, and Matlock, with Andy Griffith. He still acts here and there, but Clarence is now a professor at a college in Nevada.

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