Entertainment Music Gladys Knight's Life in Photos In honor of Gladys Knight's 79th birthday on May 28, 2023, take a look back at the singer's incredible musical career, from performing with The Pips to her multiple Grammy wins By Kelsie Gibson Kelsie Gibson Twitter Kelsie Gibson is the SEO Editor of PEOPLE Digital. Since joining the brand in 2021, she has contributed to a number of different verticals, writing and editing SEO content ranging from relationship timelines to TV and movie explainers. Prior to joining PEOPLE, Kelsie worked at POPSUGAR as the Celebrity and Entertainment editor, where she wrote and edited content and conducted various interviews for online and video at press junkets, red carpets, and events such as Tribeca Film Festival. She was also formerly at Bustle, Tiger Beat, and Her Campus and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. People Editorial Guidelines Updated on May 25, 2023 04:12 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Trending Videos 01 of 18 Gladys Knight's Early Life Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Gladys Knight was born on May 28, 1944, to parents Merald Woodlow Knight Sr. and Sarah Elizabeth. Growing up in Atlanta, Georgia, Knight first started singing in her church choir before eventually appearing on a TV show contest at the age of 8. 02 of 18 Gladys Knight on The Original Amateur Hour Michael Ochs Archives/Getty In 1952, Knight first stepped onto the musical scene when she appeared on Ted Mack's The Original Amateur Hour. Not only did she win the competition at the age of 8, but it led her to perform even more with her brother Bubba, sister Brenda, and their cousins Eleanor and William Guest. 03 of 18 Gladys Knight and the Pips RB/Redferns After performing with her siblings and cousins at a birthday party, Knight's mother encouraged the kids to form an actual musical group, which they eventually called The Pips (they later changed the group's name to Gladys Knight & the Pips in 1961). After performing in several talent shows together, they signed with Brunswick Records in 1957, paving the way for their musical successes. The group later signed with Motown Records in the late '60s, when they reached commercial success with singles such as "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" and "Midnight Train to Georgia." The group — which over the years included Gladys Knight, Bubba Knight, William Guest, Edward Patten, Brenda Knight, Eleanor Guest, and Langston George — received critical acclaim from 1952 to 1989, including several Top 20 hits and multiple Grammy wins. They were also inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2001, furthering their status as R&B music legends. 04 of 18 Gladys Knight in Pipe Dreams LMPC via Getty In addition to singing with the Pips, Knight began branching out into acting in the mid-1970s. In 1976, she made her acting debut as the lead in the film Pipe Dreams for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe for new star of the year – actress. 05 of 18 Gladys Knight's Television Appearances TV Times via Getty Knight also made several television appearances in the '70s and '80s. She briefly starred on the short-lived variety show The Gladys Knight and the Pips Show in 1975 in addition to appearing on The Muppet Show, The Jeffersons, and Living Single, among many others. 06 of 18 Gladys Knight's Performance of That's What Friends Are For Nick Ut/AP/Shutterstock In 1986, Knight joined musical legends Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, and Elton John on the 1985 AIDS benefit single, "That's What Friends Are For." The single not only went triple No. 1, but later won a Grammy for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal. 07 of 18 Gladys Knight's Solo Career Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty In 1978, Knight began to branch out as a solo artist with the release of her debut album titled Miss Gladys Knight. Over the years, Knight has released 11 studio albums, one of her most notable albums being Good Woman in 1991, which hit No. 1 on the R&B album chart and received a Grammy nomination for the track "Superwoman." 08 of 18 Gladys Knight's Grammy Wins CBS via Getty Knight has received a number of Grammys over the years, both with the Pips and as a solo artist. She received her first nomination in 1967 for best female R&B vocal performance and her first win in 1973 for best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals. In total, Knight has won seven Grammys out of the 22 she has been nominated for. 09 of 18 Gladys Knight's Hollywood Walk of Fame Star MIKE NELSON/AFP via Getty On June 27, 1995, Knight was recognized for her many musical achievements with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 10 of 18 Gladys Knight's Induction Into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ke.Mazur/WireImage A year after receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Knight and the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Davie Bowie, Pink Floyd and more. During the induction dinner, Knight snapped a photo alongside Mariah Carey, who inducted the group during the ceremony. 11 of 18 Gladys Knight's Lifetime Acheivement Awards Chris McKay/FilmMagic In addition to her various music honors, Knight has also received several lifetime achievement awards. In 1992, she received the Essence Award for Career Achievement; in 2002, she received the BET Lifetime Achievement Award (pictured); and in 2011, she received the Soul Train Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award. 12 of 18 Gladys Knight's Farewell Tour Howard Denner/Avalon/Getty In October 2009, Knight embarked on her farewell tour in the United Kingdom, featuring appearances from Tito Jackson and Dionne Warwick. Despite being named her "farewell" tour, she has continued to tour and perform publicly since. 13 of 18 Gladys Knight on Dancing With the Stars Adam Taylor/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty In 2012, Knight competed on season 14 of Dancing with the Stars alongside partner Tristan MacManus. The dancing couple came in eighth overall, with Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver taking home the coveted Mirrorball Trophy at the end of the season. 14 of 18 Gladys Knight on The Masked Singer FOX Image Collection via Getty A few years after appearing on DWTS, Knight competed on another reality competition. In 2019, she was revealed as the "Bee" on The Masked Singer, placing third in the competition. 15 of 18 Gladys Knight at the 2019 Super Bowl Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty In 2019, Knight had the high honor of singing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII, where the New England Patriots won against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Knight's hometown. 16 of 18 Gladys Knight's Kids Robin Platzer/Getty In addition to being a music legend, Knight is a mother of three children: son James "Jimmy" Gaston Newman III born in August 1962, daughter Kenya Maria Newman (pictured left) born in November 1963, and son Shanga Ali Hankerson born in August 1976. In June 1999, Knight's son James, who managed his mother's career through his Newman Management, tragically died from heart failure at age 36, as reported by Variety. 17 of 18 Gladys Knight's Husband William McDowell Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic In April 2001, Knight married corporate consultant William McDowell during a private ceremony in California. Since then, the couple have given several glimpses of their romance, including attending various events together and sharing heartfelt tributes to each other on social media. Before McDowell, Knight was previously married three times prior: to James "Jimmy" Newman from 1960 to 1973, Barry Hankerson from 1974 to 1979, and Les Brown from 1995 to 1997. 18 of 18 Gladys Knight at the Summer of Soul Screening Roy Rochlin/Getty After a nearly eight decades-long career, Knight shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In addition to touring across the globe, she has continued to perform on stage and on the screen. In 2021, she made an appearance as herself in Eddie Murphy's Coming 2 America film and that same year, she performed at a screening for Questlove's Summer of Soul documentary about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which featured appearances from Gladys Knight & the Pips, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and more notable artists.