Amarah's Corner: Sharing Paul Williams’ story Part 1

I appreciate all kinds of music, especially music that touches my heart. Paul Williams is one such singer/songwriter whose songs and music wring my emotions which is why I want you to hear his songs in the beloved Muppet version of Charles Dickens classic novella, A Christmas Carol.

My Friend, Roscoe, president and founder of The San Luis Valley Little Theatre Company in Alamosa recently sent me a note “Hi Amarah. it’s good that you are going strong helping others. Even using songs written by former addicts (Paul Williams) shows people can change with strong support like yours.

Wow. Thank You, Roscoe, for sharing this with me. I didn’t know Paul Williams was an addict. But, because of your note, I researched this and found the following interview by Nicki Gostin, (Fox News) with Paul Williams, July 9, 2012, and wanted to share it with you:

How the Once Ubiquitous Entertainer Paul Williams Disappeared Into Cocaine, Booze Addiction, Part 1:

In the 1970’s, songwriter Paul Williams was ubiquitous. He wrote and sang the bittersweet Muppets tune Rainbow Connection, won an Oscar with Barbara Streisand for Evergreen, sat on Johnny Carson’s couch countless times, and appeared on TV shows like The Love Boat and Policewoman.

Then he disappeared.

Director Stephen Kessler (Vegas Vacation) grew up worshiping the diminutive Williams and contacted him to do a documentary. Initially, Williams wasn’t interested, but eventually he relented. Their relationship, along with what happened to Williams, is portrayed in Paul Williams Still Alive, a fascinating look at fame, addiction and recovery.

FOX411: You clearly did not want to do this documentary yet you changed your mind. Why?

PW: Stephen sent me an email, and there’s this wonderful kind of netherworld in emails where you can save them as new, you don’t have to say no, you don’t have to say yes.

In the beginning I thought there’s nothing more pathetic than a little old man saying, ‘Please sir may I have another cup of fame?’ My life is wonderful now; I don’t want to return to… I was clearly such a little media whore. It was like an addiction, all that attention was like an addiction, and until my other addiction to cocaine and vodka, it was thriving, and then I wound up hiding in my bedroom at three in the morning peering out the window.

I had all these reasons to not want to do it. But he showed up in Canada and it’s such a compliment and I thought if we did make this film it might be a nice chance to talk about recovery which is so important to me. I didn’t realize it would be like the ghosts of Christmas with some of the most awful footage of me, which would have disappeared if we hadn’t put it in the film. The footage of me on the “Mike Douglas Show” is really hard for me to watch.

FOX411: It’s also hard to watch you with Dick Clark where you’re clearly under the influence.

PW: I had editing rights, so if I didn’t want that in there, it came out. There was a clip I didn’t want my daughter to see. I was joking about marital infidelity; I was just being the most vapid, arrogant ruthless horrible little asshole. Why would anyone want to make a film about that man? Fortunately, he didn’t make a film about that man.

FOX411: You’re a different person now and you sound so happy.

PW: With that piece of footage missing, I don’t think you’d get the complete arc. I’m glad it’s in there.

FOX411: Your songs have certain wistfulness. Did it have something to do with your height. (5’2”)? It can’t have been easy growing up.

PW: I think there’s stuff that shapes us and sometimes it’s painful. I tried to write hit songs, but when I tried to write hit songs nobody recorded them. When I sat down and wrote something that came out of the center of my chest, people responded, and there’s a great lesson in that. There’s a connection to the world through authenticity. Also, a lot of songs, I wrote lyrics to other people’s music. That’s what I heard in the music - that longing, that need to be loved.

FOX411: You have quite the relapse story in the film as well.

PW: I went to Jamaica when I was seven months sober. I was white knuckling it. I was writing a musical with a couple of guys and I stayed up all night chasing this song and melody that I thought was so wonderful, and I thought I had written a rock and roll classic. I got up after a little bit of sleep and I wandered down to the pool and I turned on the tape recorder and listened to it and I realized I had rewritten ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem.’

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Stay-tuned for Part 2 next week.

Until next time, remember, Jesus Loves You, and JESUS IS LORD!