Gladys Knight was born to Merald Woodlow Knight and Sarah Elizabeth Woods in 1952. At the age of 7, after months of competition, due to her powerful singing voice, Gladys won the finals on the very popular Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour TV show contest. The following year, she, her brother Merald, sister Brenda, and cousins William and Eleanor Guest formed a musical group called The Pips. By the end of the decade, the act had begun to tour, and had replaced Brenda Knight and Eleanor Guest with cousins Edward Patten and Langston George. After a successful 1988 tour, the Pips retired and Gladys Knight began a career as a solo artist. Gladys Knight & the Pips were later inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
Gladys joined with Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John on the 1986 AIDS benefit single, "That's What Friends Are For" which won a Grammy for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal. In 1989, Gladys recorded the title track for the James Bond movie Licence to Kill, a top 10 hit both in the UK and Germany. Futhering her popularity, Gladys made guest-starring television appearances throughout the eighties and nineties with roles on Benson, The Jeffersons, A Different World, Living Single, The Jamie Foxx Show and New York Undercover. In 1985, she co-starred on the CBS sitcom Charlie and Co. with comedian Flip Wilson. Gladys Knight's third solo LP, Good Woman, was released in 1991. It rose to #1 on the R&B album chart and featured the #2 R&B hit "Men". Her fourth solo LP, Just for You, went gold and was nominated for the 1995 Grammy Award for Best R&B Album. Tragedy struck in 1999, when her eldest son, Jimmy, Jr., died in his sleep at the age of 36. Gladys' most recent albums are "At Last" and "Before Me" which are doing very well. Her most recent achievements include a grammy for a duet with Ray Charles "Heaven Help us All" from his last album "Ray Charles", and another Grammy for her album with the All Saints choir.