The Homeless Man With The Golden Voice, A Year Later

Ted Williams golden voice followupOne year ago, Ted "Golden Voice" Williams was living in a box and panhandling on a Columbus street corner. But he had a deep, soulful voice destined for greater things. And now he's found them. With a new, clean-cropped haircut, Williams (the accompanying photo shows him, at right, with his "sober living" coach) is living with his longtime girlfriend in a comfortable condominium in Dublin, Ohio, with regular voice-work and an upcoming autobiography.

Williams first entered the national spotlight when a reporter for The Columbus Dispatch filmed him impersonating a radio broadcaster. "And we'll be back for more, right after these words," he said, with a sonorous cadence to rival Tom Brokaw's, sending chills down the spines of over 18 million YouTube viewers.

Raised in Brooklyn, N.Y, the 54-year-old father of nine spent three years in the armed forces then attended school for voice acting. Williams worked overnight shifts at a radio station in Columbus before falling victim to alcohol and drug addiction. With a series of citations and arrests for drug abuse, criminal trespassing, solicitation, theft, drug possession, robbery and escape, and two stints in jail, Williams ended up on the streets with nothing but a handwritten sign and a powerful set of pipes.

A couple of days after his video went viral, Williams was interviewed on a slew of talk shows. Oprah announced that she would like to bring Williams into the OWN family. "It would be fantastic to hear him say, 'The Oprah Winfrey Network,' " she said. The Cleveland Cavaliers NBA basketball team offered him a job doing full-time voice-over work, as well as a home. MSNBC hired him shortly after, as did Kraft Foods. He became such a meme that one reporter intrepidly searched the streets of Indianapolis for homeless people with secret talents in a bit that, some would say, lacked taste.

It's the kind of story that the American people love. A man, down on his luck, is skyrocketed to fame thanks to an inspiring gift, a pinch of humility and a viral video. But Williams' sudden swing in fortunes didn't have a simple Hollywood ending.

Having been purportedly sober since mid-2008, Williams succumbed to drinking after the media storm. The Cleveland Cavaliers retracted its earlier job offer, and Williams ended up briefly detained by the Los Angeles Police Department with his daughter, after a fierce yelling match. He ended up doing two stints in rehab -- one for drinking, organized by Dr. Phil (which he left prematurely), and one for emotional reasons.

But Williams is clean again, with a new job as the voice for the regional network New England Cable News. "What another blessing that God has bestowed upon me in the year 2011," Williams told The Boston Herald. "A year ago today, I was homeless and toothless and everything else-less."

Entertainment Tonight caught up with Williams recently for a tour of his new home. "I've got a fireplace!" he exclaims. "I can get butt-naked by the fireplace!"

Strolling through his walk-in closet, which doubles as a recording studio, Williams seems to be genuinely at a loss. "A year ago I was living inside of a box," he says. "Man what a difference a year makes."

Williams' memoirs, "A Golden Voice: How Faith, Hard Work, and Humility Brought Me from the Streets to Salvation" is due out in May.

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Samantha Witherspoon

I'm so sick and tired of people who spend all of their time juding someone else. One idiot wants to judge who he's spending his life with. You don't have a clue why he and his wife were not together nor what kind of woman his wife was as for his Mother she was a piece of work herself. She was more worried about what other thought than her own son. Get a life and stay out of other peoples business.

February 16 2012 at 4:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dark Illl Poets

He looks like Obama at sum angles lol

February 16 2012 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edward C. Stengel

I say he falls off the wagon again. I fought all-mighty alcohol for 32 years, and I know that a job and a nice home aren't going to keep you sober. When you're ready to finally put down that bottle, it won't make a difference what your living conditions are.

February 16 2012 at 3:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Regardless of the addiction (substance abuse, overeating, overspending, gambling, etc.) no program will work if the person involved cannot come to terms what it is in their minds they are unwilling to face and change. For some people it is a terrible trauma, for others it is life long low self esteem. Until people face their fear and replace it with something more positive, they will not make it - no matter how many family members and friends support them in life.

February 16 2012 at 1:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sweet Sue Ohio

You go Ted!

February 14 2012 at 4:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm glad he's doing better now, but he wasn't exactly "down on his luck". His problems were self-made with drug/alcohol addiction. He still has a long way to go.

February 14 2012 at 2:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am one who has stared addiction in the face. My mother died because of an addiction. If I had pushed her harder toward healthful living, today she might still be alive. Ted will continually need his friends to make him aware that the life he had before was fruitless. He was a cocoon and now he has become a butterfly. I will believe that he does not desire his old life anymore. Just for him to always focus on the fact that he has been given a new chance...something that very few ever get to have.

February 13 2012 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to lucasdoutlaw's comment
Glen Fleetwood

there was nothing for you to do. It was her choice. Forgive yourself.

February 16 2012 at 8:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Verna Carmon

Anna,I agree with you wholeheartedly. He'd rather be with his druggie partner in crime than spend time with his great tolerant wife and kids who he never did anything for.Let's not forget how much gratitude he showed his mother either.Let's see how long this last.Don't burn your bridges Mr. Golden voice man.

February 12 2012 at 6:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am glad his life is back on track, but he must remember to make things right with his family. I hope he takes care of his NINE kids, and helps his ex-wife and ex girlfriends, the ones who raised his kids when he was high.

February 12 2012 at 4:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This is a miracle. It's very uplifting to here success stories in contrast to those that fail. The secrets are Faith and persistance. I don't know Mr. Williams personally, but I am extremely proud of him and I know his book will inspire people forever, this is his purpose in life. Can't wait to read it. " The goal is not to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."

February 12 2012 at 2:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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