- Cosmic Rays from the stars concentrated in the gravity rod enable me to soar through space!
- -- Starman src
Ted Knight was, in his beginnings, an immensely wealthy heir, whose wealth nearly matched his boredom at the insipid life he lived as a playboy in his native Opal City, so he rarely showed up at parties or the like, preferring to devote his time to his true passion; science. He spent vast amounts of money scouring the heavens, and ultimately found the stars themselves routinely bombarded Earth with great amounts of energy, which, unfortunately, he had no means of harnessing. Knight's cousin Sandra spoke to him about Professor Abraham Davis, a man who had built her a weapon against crime, the Black Light Ray, which she used to become invisible. Inspired to visit Davis to talk about the energy source, Knight and the Professor created a device they called the Gravity Rod, a piece of technology far ahead of its time. The rod could be used for flight, energy projection, and several other applications. As for the power source, both convened in using the stellar energy Knight had discovered. Sandra's prior adventures as the crime fighter Phantom Lady inspired Ted to take on the identity of Starman, and use the gravity rod to fight crime. As Starman, he became the defender of Opal City and a frequent ally of the FBI. He was a member of the Justice Society of America for much of the 1940s and, like other mystery men of the time, served in the war-time All-Star Squadron.
At this time, the love of Ted's life was a woman named Doris Lee, who often chastised her layabout playboy boyfriend, unaware of Ted's costumed persona. Doris was tragically murdered in 1951 while attempting to warn Ted about a plot by his archenemy, the Mist, to create a gas capable of inducing mass-madness. What made this more tragic was the fact Lee had discovered Knight's secret only a few days prior. This event, combined with Ted's role in the creation of the atom bomb, caused him to suffer a nervous breakdown. He was confined to a mental institution for a number of years as a result.
Ted was motivated to return to active duty in part by his own time-traveling sons, David and Jack, who aided him by unwittingly revealing the Mist's plan all along, with David additionally becoming a replacement Starman for the final months of 1951. It was revealed that Ted Knight had a brief affair with the first Black Canary (Dinah Drake Lance) in the 1960s, which filled in blank spots in the hero's past.
Like the rest of the Justice Society, Starman spent many years in retirement following the end of the Golden Age of heroes, but he returned to help mentor the team's spiritual successors, the Justice League of America. During his years as a civilian, Ted Knight married a woman named Adele Doris Drew, and fathered David and Jack. David idolized his father while Jack disdained the silliness of superhero life and his father's perceived focus on costumed adventure over family, after a childhood period of adoration and subsequent disillusionment. Knight's happiness would not last long, however, as his beloved wife died at a relatively young age, killed by a natural, slow-acting disease.
Starman finally sidelined from hero work permanently by the events of Zero Hour. Previously kept virile by the effects of an early JSA mission where he and his comrades were bombarded by the radiation stemming from Ian Karkull's shadows, Ted Knight was restored to an age closer to his natural one by the temporal villain Extant. He subsequently hung up the costume and concentrated on his original love, science.
Following Ted's retirement, David inherited his mantle as Starman, but was killed early in his career (not a week into it) by the son of one of his father's old enemies. Jack then inherited the title, although not without grievances. The retired Ted Knight provided Jack with a more powerful staff, the Cosmic Rod, sometimes advised him and, over time, the two estranged Starmen reforged the bond of father and son, with Jack ultimately understanding his father's heroism. In exchange for Jack taking up the defense of Opal City, Ted agreed to use his cosmic-powered inventions for the benefit of mankind rather than simply costumed adventuring. Ted went as far as to take care of the insensate Mikaal Tomas and a gentle version of Solomon Grundy to please Jack and ensure his continued adventures as Starman.
Ted's associations were not limited to this, however. He was the first to actively attempt to communicate with Tomas after a period of several years during which he was kept chained as a circus freak. After a devastating blast that nearly killed Grundy, again, Knight valiantly ventured into the behemoth's mind to save the gentle soul he had seen save many after the blast. He made friends with one of his old, retired villains, the ageless Shade, who genuinely cared about the city of Opal. This mutual interest and love helped close the gap between the two former enemies and often prompted them to meet for friendly chat.
During Jack's adventures, he was again attacked by several super villains, among them the irradiated monster Dr. Phosphorus and the mercenary Deathbolt. During his first joust against Phosphorus, the villain had just signed a deal with Neron, and was unaware of exactly how to control the deadening of his abilities; this allowed Knight to walk away unscathed from the fight. Later on, Phosphorus again attacked Knight, but by now he had mastered his new body. This second assault, set during the Grand Guignol, left Knight terminally ill with cancer. He also managed to stave off an old enemy, the Ragdoll, and convince him to leave Opal before Simon Culp's plan came to fruition.
Ted eventually died in battle with his old enemy, The Mist. With a massive variant of his Gravity Rod, he transported them both into orbit, along with Opal City's Government and Postal Building, where The Mist's nuclear bomb could detonate without harming the city. In his final moments, he made peace with his old enemy and cheered him up. Postmortem, he met with Jack a final time, with his other son David. Knight gave his blessing to Jack to leave the Starman mantle, as well as Opal, so he could live a good life with his girlfriend Sadie and his son by the second Mist.
- Genius Level Intellect: Ted possesses a brilliant intellect, mastery of several sciences, and a gift for invention. In addition to the gravity and cosmic rods, Ted created the cosmic staff used by his son Jack and the Cosmic Converter Belt worn by his JSA teammates the Star-Spangled Kid and later Stargirl.
- Equestrianism: As a wealthy socialite, he bred and raced horses.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- 335 Appearances of Theodore Knight (New Earth)
- 48 Images featuring Theodore Knight (New Earth)
- 11 Quotations by or about Theodore Knight (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Theodore Knight (New Earth)
Justice Society of America member