Golden-voiced homeless man struggles with newfound fame
Published 08/01/2011 | 05:00
THE homeless man who became an overnight celebrity thanks to his golden voice last night confessed he is having trouble dealing with the challenges of fame.
"I wanted a nerve pill yesterday, to be honest with you," Ted Williams said yesterday on television. The 53-year-old recovering addict said a psychologist talked him out of it.
"She said, 'Listen, you're going to have to learn to meditate and not medicate'," Williams said.
He became famous after 'The Columbus Dispatch' newspaper posted a web video of him earlier this week. Williams had found himself on the streets in Columbus, Ohio, after his life was ruined by substance abuse, but he says he has been sober for more than two years.
He appeared on TV seated in the studio next to his mother, who said their reunion in New York on Thursday was the first time she'd seen her son in person in 10 years.
"I said, 'Is this my son, my little son -- the prodigal son has come back home,"' said Julia Williams, of Brooklyn.
Video of their initial meeting posted by 'The Columbus Dispatch' shows Ted Williams walking quickly toward his 90-year-old mother in a hotel. Williams says, "Hi, Mommy. Hi, Mommy," when he sees her. She covers her face as her son approaches, and he hugs her, saying, "I feel the same way, Mommy."
Williams said his life began spiraling downward in 1996, when he began drinking alcohol "pretty bad." He used marijuana and cocaine and lost interest in his radio career.
He wound up on the streets despite the best efforts of his children -- seven daughters and two sons, who live in the Columbus area.