Now, Williams, 53, is reaping the rewards of being a viral sensation on YouTube. After being filmed demonstrating his rich, radio-announcer delivery, he's answering to a new name: the homeless man with a golden voice.
His smooth, suave sound has become an overnight commodity, and Williams is already fielding offers from Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ted Williams Golden Voice Writing Memoir - "They said they were going to give me LeBron's old house," Williams joked about the former Cavaliers player on Thursday morning's Today show.
Williams's second chance comes more than 15 years after he began struggling with alcoholism, drug addiction and petty crime. The aspiring program director says he's now clean and ready to leave the streets for good.
"My life just went to the pits," he says. "In spite of all the flames that went down my throat, my voice still retains some type of resonance."
Inspired by his mother and the dream he has had since falling in love with broadcasting as a teen, Williams says he's showing his gratitude by "acknowledging the Lord" for his second shot. As the father of seven girls and two boys, he's hoping his story will encourage others to reach out to more people like him.
"Don't judge a book by its cover – everyone has their own little story," he says. "If you're going to give to a homeless person, give from the heart."