The latest sensation throughout the United States has been the story of Ted Williams. No, not Red Sox great Teddy Ballgame, but Ted Williams, the homeless man from Columbus with the golden radio voice.
Within the past few, a video of Williams' voice was posted on Youtube, and has already garnered over 10 million views. He's made an appearance on the CBS Early Show, he has been given a job offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers, and more. Conversely, his past and the specifics of what he mentioned in the youtube video have begun to come to light.
Who is Ted Williams, 2011's first major internet sensation? Here is all you need to know about him.
Williams was born in 1957 and raised in Brooklyn, New York. His inspiration to be a radio announcer came on a field trip to a radio station, where he said that the man he heard on the radio did not match who he saw in person.
He spent time in the U.S. Armed Forces and attended the Central Ohio School of Broadcasting to fine tune his voice, then worked at various radio stations in Columbus and North Carolina. In 1996, he began to experiment with drugs and alcohol, and eventually became homeless.
He has since been sober for two years, but has moved between staying with family members and living on the streets.
The Columbus Dispatch did a story on Williams, and posted the video on their website on January 3. Videographer Doral Chenoweth was on the assignment, and noted that he had never heard of the guy originally.
After the video was posted to the Dispatch's site, it was posted on Youtube later that same day. This video has now been the catalyst of creating a worldwide sensation.
What came of this video was nothing short of astonishing. After this video was posted, job offers came pouring in and people rallied to find jobs for him. NFL Films gave him a job offer, and he got a guest spot on WNCI's Morning Zoo.
Perhaps the biggest story was that the Cleveland Cavaliers not only offered him a full-time job for voice-over work, but offered him a house as well.
Once his newfound fame hit across America, one of Williams' first talk show appearances was with the CBS early show. In the interview, Williams discussed his sudden fame, the chance to see his mother again, which was being planned for shortly after the interview, and how he had found God in the past year and tried to continue on a road out of where he was.
A day after Williams interviewed with the Early Show, they interviewed his mother, 92-year old Julia Williams. She noted that God had answered her prayer that he finally seemed to be doing well and was rebounding. She had been worried about him, especially after seeing the original video of him and the sign.
Ted Williams was scheduled to fly to New York to take part in the Today Show and meet up with his mother, after having not seen her in about 20 years. There was just one problem with that. He could not board the plane originally yesterday because he did not have identification. Guess the 10+ million viewed youtube video wasn't enough ID.
Williams was able to get to the courthouse and was able to get on a plane. Alas, most homeless in fact don't carry anything, and re-establishing identity can be difficult, particularly if one was homeless a long time.
Yes, Williams did make an appearance on the Today Show earlier today, but not before NBC and CBS caused trouble between each other. When Ted Williams landed in the airport, NBC was on the scene with him, to get him ready for the Today Show. Julia Williams, meanwhile, was brought to the airport by the CBS crew, hoping to get a reunion there.
NBC would have none of that, wanted the feel-good story for themselves, and whisked Ted away to the studios. CBS, likewise, would not give up the mother. The two did later reunite after the animosity died down, but that stunt made both networks look stupid.
Earlier today, Williams was interviewed on the Today Show, which despite all the earlier problems noted, went on without any trouble. His civility and grace was noted, as they noted that he still has a good attitude in the video despite all his problems. They also touched on his drug issues and his family.
Perhaps ironically, they also noted that hopefully things are not happening too quickly. He was compared to Susan Boyle in his rapid ascent to celebrity status, and when that happened to Boyle she had a breakdown. Hopefully the same does not happen for Williams.
Upon the conclusion of all the national interviews, the mother and son were finally to be reunited. After Ted saw his mother in a conference room, he ran to her and the two shared an embrace, with the mother saying, "My prodigal son has finally come home."
One could say this has been a reunion in the making for several days, but in reality, it's been waiting to happen for 20 years, and it's great that it finally did.
With his star on the rise, many things continue to come out, both good and bad. He has yet more interviews coming up this week, and The Smoking Gun has also noted his track record on their website.
Beyond that, the sky is now the limit for Williams. We may not see him after the hype begins to die down, but we'll certainly hear him, wherever his voice takes him. He has noted that he'll be doing a spot for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, and there could be many more opportunities yet.