About a year ago Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice, was on the streets of Columbus, Ohio. After a few offers and then a stint in rehab early this year after a couple appearances on the Dr. Phil Show, he officially debuted on New England Cable News (NECN) as the voice of the regional network and its 9 p.m. newscast.
“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.”
Williams, 54, scored fame in January after a Columbus newspaper reporter videotaped the panhandler delivering his marquee voice-overs as he held a cardboard sign that read: “I’m an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times.”
Indeed, Clear Channel’s WNCI-FM morning duo Dave and Jimmy interviewed him 1/5 and the offers started pouring in — including a dream job with the Cleveland Cavaliers and a free house in that city.
Williams now says he’s been sober since 5/4.
Williams was in the Hub this week to appear on NECN to tout his new gig. Staffers surprised him with a No. 9 Red Sox jersey of the Hall of Famer who bears the same name.
NECN station manager Stacey Marks Bronner sought out Williams because he’s got a “one-of-a-kind voice,” in the words of station spokesman Skip Perham.
The father of nine now lives in a condo in Dublin, OH, with his longtime girlfriend, doing the voice-over work for NECN from his at-home studio. He said he’s got a great lawyer, mended “a few bridges that were kind of burnt” with family members and has an inspirational memoir coming out next year.
While in jail on a probation violation last October, Williams said he wrote up a wish list for 2011, which included getting dental work, new glasses and making “a better person of myself.”
“Within months, I’ve got Gucci glasses on and $46,000 worth of dental work,” Williams said.
This Thanksgiving will be a far cry from Williams’ last one — when he went to a Wendy’s restaurant and a church that feeds the homeless. He plans to spend this Turkey Day with family and friends. “I wish this would have happened 25 years ago,” Williams said of his life makeover. “Better late than never, and thank you Jesus.”