Updated at the bottom: TV Producers respond to Williams and wish him the best. First posted at 3:19 p.m.
The story of Ted Williams - known to the world as the homeless "Man with the Golden Voice" - is the stuff of Dickens.
Born in Brooklyn, NY and an army vet, Williams was a voice actor and radio announcer until the devil Drugs & Alcohol ravaged his world, leaving Williams constantly inebriated and confused, begging for loose change on the highways and byways of Franklin County, Ohio.
Until one day, someone at a local paper shot a video of Williams and his miraculous baritone, and slapped it on the Internet. Instant fame followed.
But with instant fame, there is always The Fall ...
In the clutch of Drugs & Alcohol, Williams took a ride in The Fast Lane, appearing on a slew of national TV shows, including Today and The Early Show.
But alas, it proved to be too much for Mr. Williams.
According to his lawyers, Williams "was unable to deal with the stress and pressures that came with his national recognition, and his dependence and use of alcohol and drugs became more severe. [Williams] was totally incapable of understanding what was happening to him or handling [his] own affairs."
Enter Randy Thomas and Joe Cipriano, producers of the reality show America's Next Voice.
Apparently, Williams signed a contract with the two producers, as well as Spirit Digital Media director Zev Suissa, giving them rights to a hefty percentage of anything Williams can milk off of the fame-teat.
Williams is now suing the three people in L.A. Superior Court for inducing him to sign a "one-sided, onerous, burdensome, non-negotiated and blatantly unfair" deal.
Williams is asking the court to essentially toss the contract in the trash. The reasoning?
Williams was too fucked up to know what he was signing.
According to Williams' lawsuit:
At the time the term sheet was executed, [Williams] was either under the influence of intoxicating substances or was otherwise impaired as a result of his mental condition as impacted by significant and ongoing substance abuse.
Defendants knew or should have known that [Williams] lacked capacity to sign ... Indeed, shortly after the term sheet was fully-executed, Defendants referred [Williams] to a sober house in California because they knew that he needed help for his severe and debilitating substance abuse.
Let this be a lesson to us all.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
UPDATE: Through their attorneys, Joe Cipriano, Randy Thomas, and Zev
Suissa issued a lengthy statement. Here's most of it:
Joe Cipriano, Randy Thomas, and Zev Suissa have never taken any
money from Mr. Ted Williams. They have not commissioned any of his
deals. In fact, they have personally invested thousands of dollars to
support Mr. Williams because they genuinely wanted to help him
achieve his second chance in life. They never asked Mr. Williams to
do anything against his will. In return for their efforts, Joe,
Randy, and Zev have had to endure false statements about their
so many others, Joe, Randy, and Zev were touched by the story of Ted
Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice asking for a second
chance in life. After first hearing about Joe and Randy, Mr. Williams
and his manager Al Battle reached out to the voice over veterans for
advice on how to handle a successful career for Mr. Williams. They
said that Mr. Williams had been overwhelmed with offers coming from
every direction and that they very much wanted to hire Joe, Randy,
and Zev to guide his career.
Randy, and Zev agreed to enter into a contract with Mr. Williams and
Mr. Battle, and went about creating a career for Mr. Williams with
the same sense of quality and professionalism they would want for
Working with Mr. Williams soon
turned into a time consuming job, demanding immense attention.
Contrary to their advice, Mr. Williams often chose to involve himself
in several other projects that did not meet their standard of
At this time, Mr. Williams has
retained new advisors and he has decided to sue Joe, Randy, and Zev
to be released from their agreement. They do not believe there is any
merit to the lawsuit, but certainly do not want to prevent Mr.
Williams from achieving his dreams, and for months have been in
discussions to help him do so. Joe, Randy, and Zev wish Mr. Williams
the best of luck with his new team. They hope he has much success in
both his personal and professional life.