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02nd Nov 2023

Homeless man whose voice ended up completely changing his life and turned him into a superstar

Nina McLaughlin

Ted Williams is now a recognisable figure in the world of American voice artists. He has worked prolifically as an announcer, radio personality and voice-over artist.

Despite his success, the star’s life was not always as glamorous.

Williams was adopted when he was just 3 weeks old and he grew up in Brooklyn, New York, as reported by Dallas’ AMPS Magazine.

He served 3 years in the US Army and, after being honourably discharged, he found success as a disc jockey for the Ohio radio station WVKO.

He described himself as “doing very well with [his] broadcasting career” at this time, and said his “life was good” with his family and children.

However, everything changed in Williams’ life in the year 1988. He smoked what he believed to be cannabis, but turned out to be crack cocaine.

From then, he was “hooked”, and faced huge drug and alcohol addiction issues. Williams explained that he was evicted from his home, which then caused him to spiral even further, and said the drugs “separated” him from his family, job and home.

“I was embarrassed and I embarrassed my family. My voice was a gift from God and I was abusing it,” he said.

By 1990, he was sent to prison for 3 months for theft, and in 2004 he was imprisoned again for theft, forgery and obstructing official business.

But, one day in 2011, a Columbus Dispatch reporter interviewed him while he was standing on the street, and the clip quickly went viral.

The segment, titled ‘Ted Williams: homeless man with a golden voice’, showed Williams stood with his cardboard sign, and focused on how his voice helps him ask for donations.

The segment led to multiple job offers and appearances on shows such as CBS’ The Early Show and Today. Following on from all the press coverage, Williams bagged an influx of job offers, which included voice over work for Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, MSNBC and Kraft Foods.

“The Columbus Dispatch reporter was instrumental in changing my life. Because of his actions, I was given an avenue to make the change that saved my life,” he said, reflecting on his tale.

“I feel truly blessed that I still have ‘The Golden Voice’,” he said.

“I give all praises to God for standing with me through my struggles and carrying me when I could not go any further.”