Born Tadeusz Wladyslaw Konopka to a Polish American family in Terryville, Connecticut, Knight dropped out of high school to enlist for military service in World War II, where his bravery was accordingly honored.
During the postwar years, Knight studied acting in Hartford, Connecticut. He became proficient with puppets and ventriloquism, which led to steady work as a TV kiddie-show host. Knight spent most of the 1950s and 1960s doing commercial voice-overs and essaying minor TV and movie roles (he was the nonspeaking cop who was guarding Norman Bates at the end of Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho (1960)). Knight's distinctive speaking voice brought him work as an announcer -- he narrated several animated television series including Super Friends in which he also provided the voice for Daily Planet editor Perry White -- and he appeared frequently in TV shows such as Bonanza, Get Smart and The Love Boat.
His role as the vain and untalented newscaster Ted Baxter in Mary Tyler Moore brought Knight widespread recognition, and his greatest success. He received six Emmy Award nominations for the role, winning the Emmy for "Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in Comedy", in 1973 and 1976.
After the show concluded, Knight appeared in the film Caddyshack (1980), and played the lead role in the series Too Close For Comfort from 1980-1986.
He died on August 26, 1986 of colon cancer at the age of 62 and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Knight has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to Television, at 6671 Hollywood Boulevard.