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Gladys  Knight

Gladys Knight

Legendary R&B Vocalist / American Juniors Judge

Gladys Knight

Legendary R&B Vocalist / American Juniors Judge


Gladys Knight began performing gospel music at age four in her Mount Mariah Baptist Church and as a special guest soloist with the Morris Brown College Choir. At age seven, she won Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour (the 50’s version of today’s Star Search) and its $2,000 grand prize.

Just a year later, Knight (along with other family members) formed a group called The Pips, later known as Gladys Knight & The Pips.  Their first album debuted in 1960 when Knight was only sixteen.  The original version of their first hit on the album, Every Beat of My Heart, was followed by two more chart singles in 1960: “Guess Who?” and “Letter Full of Tears.” Four decades of hits followed on several record labels including Motown, Buddah, Columbia, and MCA.  Ten songs reached #1 on the R&B chart, five became Top 20 pop hits, and three won Grammy’s.

Graced by Knight’s exquisite voice, and the dramatic choral arrangements of the Pips, the group transcended countless musical fads, achieved mainstream and international success in the mid 1970s, and made some of the most memorable records of our time, including Letter Full of Tears, I Heard It Through The Grapevine, Midnight Train To Georgia, and others. 

In 1986 she produced the Ace Award Winning Sisters In The Name Of Love, an HBO television special starring Knight, Dionne Warwick and Patti LaBelle.  Knight has appeared in several other television series, movies, and off-Broadway productions.  In 1995, Knight received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a year later Gladys Knight & The Pips were inducted into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Fame.  Knight’s autobiography, Between Each Line of Pain and Glory, a line taken from her million selling recording, Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me, reached bookshelves followed by multiple talk show appearances and a book signing tour.

In November of 2000, Knight released her soulful album At Last on MCA Records. The album later went on to win her first solo Grammy in February 2002 for Best Traditional R&B Vocal album, At Last.

The Elizabeth Knight Fund is named after Gladys Knight's mother, Elizabeth, who passed away December 1997 from complications of type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association Elizabeth Knight Fund specifically supports peer-reviewed diabetes research to advance the basic science and clinical understanding of the disease. Knight has helped the Association bring forth awareness to the disease during her concerts, media interviews, and she has also worked with the Association on a cookbook, At Home with Gladys Knight.

In philanthropic efforts, Knight has not only lent her hand to the American Diabetes Association, but also the American Cancer Society, Minority AIDS Project, programs for battered women and abused children, AMFAR, homelessness, hunger prevention, and crisis intervention.  She has been honored by numerous organizations for her dedication and selflessness to help those less fortunate.

Speech Topics

Fighting Diabetes: The Power of Love & Support

Knowledge in the Fight Against Diabetes