In the new documentary "Paul Williams Still Alive," a film about singer/songwriter Williams' road to recovery from alcohol and drug abuse, there's archival footage of the artist on "The Merv Griffin Show" crudely mocking married life.
"I was making jokes about how my marriage vows disappear when I buy a plane ticket, and that kind of crap," says the ASCAP president/chairman, who has been sober since March 5, 1990.
During filming, Williams pleaded with director Stephen Kessler to cut the scene, saying, "I don't want my daughter to see this. It's horrific." But later, he realized the "Merv" footage was necessary if the movie was going to recount his struggle with addiction. "If we're making a film that's really about recovery and putting your life back together, for [viewers] to appreciate where my life is today, you really have to see that," he says.
The documentary recently screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Later this month, Williams will appear at the 34th annual treatment/recovery conference Power, Fame and Recovery: Addiction, Health and Wellness in the Public Eye. The Foundations Recovery Network and MusiCares event -- featuring a keynote by attorney Robert Shapiro and 30 other workshops -- will be held Sept. 26-29 at the Breakers in Palm Beach, Fla.
"I'll take [music director/pianist] Chris Caswell and interweave some songs and the story of my own recovery," Williams says, adding that he travels the country speaking up to 30 times per year about his sobriety.
For more information about the Power, Fame and Recovery conference, go to FoundationsEvents.com or call 877-345-3274.