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Advice To Golden-Voiced Ted Williams: Listen To Your Mom

Ted Williams, the homeless man with the golden voice who's gone from the streets of Columbus, Ohio, to nationwide fame this week because of aColumbus Dispatch video, made another appearance on NBC's Today Showthis morning -- this time with his 90-year-old mother Julia.

As we've reported, they were reunited yesterday (after 10 years apart, not 20 as previously thought). Today, they talked about his years of drug abuse, petty crime and homelessness and the shame they brought on his family.

"I felt like I brought so much disgrace to this woman," said Williams, 53, that he avoided speaking to her in recent years. And his mother confirmed that. When they talked in years past, she said, "all I got was promises" that he would get his life together.

This week, when she saw the video of him on the street in Columbus with a sign asking for money, Julia wondered "how could you get so low to do a thing like that?"

"He's a good person and he's easily pulled into things," Julia told Today's Meredith Vieira. Now, Julia tells her son: "don't disappoint me ... hold your life together."

And Vieira picked up on that: "You have the pipes," she told Williams. Now, "when this lady speaks to you, listen."

For his part, Williams said he's going to seek therapy and wants to "pick one particular situation" from among the many job offers he's received, rather than try to cash on on all of them at once. He's already done some voice-over commercial work for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, and for MSNBC. An announcing job with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers "is still an option," Williams said.

Here's the video of their appearance this morning:

A related note: The Dispatch's video went "viral" after it was posted on YouTube. But the newspaper has asserted its copyright privilege and had the most-watched copy pulled off YouTube.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.