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Ted Williams was homeless in 2011 when a reporter for the Columbus Dispatch made him famous with a viral Internet video story.
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Milli saw the clip and the Dispatch became the recipient for hundreds of email and telephone inquiries. Family businesses wanted to use Williams's voice for commercial spots, and screenwriters came calling to land the movie rights to his story.
Bigger opportunities soon followed from the National Football League, MSNBC and the Cavaliers. Williams eventually inked a $10,000 deal to do four spots for Kraft. Meanwhile,
the network morning shows battled to get him on their shows. His tearful reunion with his mother, the 90-year-old Julia Williams, was aired on NBC's The Today Show and CBS' The Early Show. "My prodigal son has finally come home," Julia told her son as the two embraced.
But as it was for Susan Boyle, the British singer who became an overnight international sensation following her performance in 2009 on the program Britain's Got Talent, the onslaught of sudden fame proved difficult for Williams to handle. There were reports about a scuffle he had with one of his daughters. Then, in February, just a month after his discovery, he checked himself out of a Texas treatment center, which he'd pledged to enter after an appearance on the Dr. Phil Show. "I think it was too much, too fast," he said. "I wanted to take advantage of everything."
In March 2011, Williams seemed to have firmer feet on the ground. He'd relocated to Los Angeles, where he was residing in a sober house. He also started a charitable foundation and began working on a book about his life. In addition, he'd begun pitching a new reality TV series called Second Chances at Life.
"I can't believe what's going on," Williams has said. "God has given me a million-dollar voice and I just hope I can do right by him."
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