Wearing the only clothes he had but sporting a neater haircut, the formerly homeless man displayed his God-given skill for the first time on national television.
The man with the golden radio voice opened "Today" show on Thursday, January 6 morning, announcing live from Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza. Despite looking nervous, Ted Williams managed to get a "good job" praise from Meredith Vieira and perhaps from the 7 million people who have watched his famous YouTube video.
Williams is a fairytale story of a man who had his career on track before drugs and booze destroyed it. He ended up homeless and asking for change at Colombus, Ohio intersection. But one thing remains, that is his perfect pipe which was captured on a video made by a local reporter. Within 48 hours after the video was posted on YouTube, Williams received not only attention but also job offers and invitation to appear on national television. "Today" was his first.
The 53-year-old has since been groomed, sitting on the couch for a live interview with Vieira and Matt Lauer. Overly earnest, Lauer expressed his concern of Williams' instant fame. "[Meredith and I] both worry a little that a lot is happening very quickly, and some people might find that hard to deal with," he said. But Williams who claimed he's been sober for two years, replied his "new sense of spirituality" will keep him on the right track. "This time around, Matt, I have a God, a God of my understanding, in my life," he said.
One of the highlights in his instant fame is the chance to reunite with his mother whom he hasn't seen in a long time. "One of my biggest prayers that I sent out was that she would live long enough for me to see me rebound or whatever, and I guess God kept her around and kept my pipes around to maybe just have one more shot," he said.
Williams' ex-wife, Patricia Kirtley, told the Daily News that she called his mom Julia Williams to tell her about her son's sudden change of fate. "She didn't believe it until I called her. She is so overwhelmed," said Kirtley who is mother to Williams' five kids. "I think she does not want him to mess it up. She said this is an opportunity and a second chance."
Upon the reunion, Williams' mom only had one thing to tell him, "Please don't disappoint me." Williams replied, "I'm not mommy. I'm through with all that."
Kirtley also revealed that Williams was an entertainer and a radio host in Colombus who chose the wrong path. "He started messing up," she said. "He had a lot of groupies. I think it was a whole lot for him to try and handle that. A lot of things were going wrong in his life."