In 2011, Ted Williams’ smooth, radio-friendly voice propelled him from homelessness to overnight fame. Dubbed “The Man With the Golden Voice,” he went from panhandling on the streets of Ohio to lucrative deals with Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, MSNBC, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and more. But the former drug addict’s meteoric rise was followed by a series of setbacks, as he grappled with his newfound celebrity status and the challenges of sobriety.
Struggles with Addiction and Rehab
Williams’ overnight fame began with a viral video posted by The Columbus Dispatch in 2011. However, his struggle with addiction soon overshadowed his success. After admitting to ongoing alcohol use on Dr. Phil, Williams entered rehab twice, with the second stint lasting 90 days. His book deal and other opportunities were put on hold until he completed treatment and apologized for lying about his sobriety.
Memoir Release and Sobriety
In May 2012, Williams released his memoir, “A Golden Voice: How Faith, Hard Work, and Humility Brought Me from the Streets to Salvation”, detailing his journey from delinquent parent and drug user to recovery. Despite financial struggles, Williams confirmed he was still sober in a 2014 interview with The Columbus Dispatch.
A Presidential Bid
Williams made headlines again in 2015 when he announced his bid for the presidency, citing Donald Trump’s candidacy as inspiration. Although his presidential run was short-lived, Williams continued motivational speaking engagements to inspire and encourage others.
Avoiding a Dangerous Scheme
In a twist of fate, Williams claimed his ex-manager, Alfred Battle, tried to involve him in a heroin smuggling scheme. Williams declined the offer, and Battle was later arrested and pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute a controlled dangerous substance.
Williams lent his voice to Pepsi’s “Joy of Pepsi” campaign in October 2015, which aired during the 2016 Super Bowl. By 2016, he had his own radio program, The Golden Voice Show, on WVKO-AM in Columbus, Ohio. The same station where he began his career in the 1980s. Sadly the role only lasted around five months.
Giving Back to the Community
Recognizing the unique opportunity he had been given, Williams dedicated himself to giving back. He worked with homeless charities, including Friends of the Homeless, the shelter he once relied on. Williams aspires to open a laundromat for the homeless, providing clean clothes to help them return to work.
In October 2016, Williams registered to vote for the first time in 25 years, marking another milestone in his journey from homelessness to a life of purpose. More recently, Williams had his own show on YouTube but hasn’t uploaded an episode in over five months. In 2023, he did some voiceover work for Dave Chappelle’s show, the “Midnight Miracle”.
Today, Ted Williams’ story serves as a testament to the power of resilience and the possibility of second chances. While his journey has been filled with ups and downs, “The Man With the Golden Voice” continues to inspire others through his work. His voice remains a symbol of hope for many.