Golden-Voiced Homeless Man Smacked With Subpoena

Brooklyn-born Ted Williams reportedly headed to rehab

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    AP
    In this photo provided by NBC Universal, homeless man Ted Williams appears on NBC's "Today" show, in New York, on Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011. 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, media appearances, and to do some commercial voiceover work. On the "Today" show, he described his previous 48 hours as "outrageous." (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer) NO SALES

    A subpoena has been issued for a Brooklyn-born homeless man who encountered instant fame when a roadside video of him demonstrating his broadcasting skills went viral.

    The Madison Press in London, Ohio, reports that Madison County sheriff's deputies say Ted Williams was a passenger in the car of a woman who was accused of drug abuse after being pulled over in May.

    Williams is wanted at a Feb. 11 hearing over whether deputies' search of the car was legal.

    The woman's attorney, Laura Bogrees, asked a judge last week to delay a hearing because the defendant was in New York. Williams was also in New York for media interviews.

    Williams' subpoena had initially been returned. Assistant prosecutor Eamon Costello says it was reissued last week.

    Meanwhile, the 53-year-old Internet megastar whose life was ruined by drugs and alcohol is headed to rehab amid allegations he's been drinking every day, according to a press release from the "Dr. Phil" show. 

    The release said Williams "has decided to enter a rehabilitation treatment facility for his alcohol and drug dependency."

    The "Dr. Phil" show said Williams "agreed to go to a private facility" after an extensive one-on-one meeting with Dr. Phil.

    "If Ted is ever going to get better, he's got to be honest with himself and admit he's addicted to drugs and alcohol," Dr. Phil said in a statement. "I've told him it's not going to be easy and it's going to take a lot of hard work. It might be a long journey for him, but this is a big step in the right direction."

    Williams' reported decision to go to rehab was prompted by his "strange behavior over the past several days," the show said.

    Williams was living in a tent near a highway in Columbus just weeks ago. He quickly became an online sensation after the Dispatch posted a clip of him demonstrating his voiceover skills while begging by the side of the road.

    Williams appeared on NBC's "Today" show last week and has been offered jobs by the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers and others.

    Williams recorded voiceover promos Thursday for MSNBC's Lean Forward campaign, and the spots were to begin running immediately, network spokeswoman Tanya Hayre said. He was being paid for the spots, Hayre said, but she declined to say how much.

    Williams also taped an appearance on the NBC late-night show hosted by comedian Jimmy Fallon, who told him his voice "is golden." Williams recounted his tale of discovery while panhandling on the streets of Columbus, joked about his fondness for "Today" host Matt Lauer and became teary-eyed when he discussed recording his first commercial for Kraft.

    On the "Today" show, Williams described the first 48 hours following his leap to fame as "outrageous."

    "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 during a live interview in the program's studio.

    But he said he was ready to handle the second chance and the job offers he was being given and predicted that in five years he'd be working as a radio program director and living in his own apartment. He said in 2010 he found a "new sense of spirituality" that would help him deal with whatever success comes.

    It's been a shocking turn of events for the golden-voiced Williams, who had gotten by living in shelters and occasionally with family and friends over the past few years. Williams also has been in his share of trouble. His past includes a lengthy list of arrests. He has served time in prison for theft and forgery and has been cited with numerous misdemeanors, including drug abuse.

    He was most recently arrested on May 14. He pleaded guilty to a first-degree misdemeanor theft charge. In court records, his address is listed as "Streets of Columbus."

    Williams acknowledged his record during the "Today" show appearance and explained that he turned to crime so he could afford his drug habit.

    Williams said his life began spiraling downward in 1996, when he began drinking alcohol "pretty bad." He used marijuana and cocaine and lost interest in his radio career. He wound up on the streets despite the best efforts of his children, seven daughters and two sons, who live in the Columbus area.

    Williams said he celebrated two years of sobriety around Thanksgiving.

    "I just hope," he said, "everyone will pray for me."

    Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy