Homeless man with golden voice now a star
January 6, 2011 8:48PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Ted Williams, whose deep, velvety radio voice and touching story prompted an outpouring of sympathy and job offers from across the country, has become an overnight sensation.
He’s America’s hottest — and most improbable — star. And now he’s a voice for Kraft Foods’ Mac n’ Cheese.
On Thursday, Williams, who was living in a tent near a highway in Columbus, Ohio, just days ago, was in New York for an emotional reunion with his 90-year-old mother and media appearances, including the “Today” show.
Before the trip was over, the man who had aspired to a career doing voiceovers for commercials before drugs and alcohol derailed his dreams had recorded four 30-second TV commercials for Northfield-based Kraft. The spots will air Sunday night during the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl (Boston College vs. Nevada).
Executives at the packaged goods company and ad agency Crispin Porter + Bogusky/Miami were touched by Williams’ story. But they also liked the voice. “We felt it would be perfect for TV commercials we were in the middle of developing,” said Kraft spokeswoman Lynne Galia.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Williams, 53, ran to his 90-year-old mother, saying “Mommy, Mommy,” when he saw her in a conference room for the first time in about 20 years. Julia Williams of Brooklyn embraced her son.
“There’s no way in the world that I could have ever imagined that I would be — I mean, just have all of this just all of a sudden come into this portion of my life,” he said.
Left homeless after his life and radio career were ruined by drugs and alcohol, Williams has been offered a job by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, and he is being pursued by NFL Films and others for possible work. Williams and his compelling tale became an online sensation after The Columbus Dispatch posted a clip of him demonstrating his voiceover skills while begging by the side of the road.
AP, with Lew Lazare contributing