Homeless man with 'golden voice' lights up Web, gets job offers
Ted Williams is seen in this still from a Columbus Dispatch video posted on YouTube.
January 5th, 2011
12:08 PM ET

Homeless man with 'golden voice' lights up Web, gets job offers

He's now known on the Web as the man with the golden voice. But before that, he was known as a guy standing on the side of the road with a sign - just like many other homeless people.

The man with the golden voice, Ted Williams, is an internet sensation. And apparently, his fame may have landed him a pretty good gig: CNN affiliate WEWS reported that the Cleveland Cavaliers have offered Williams a job and a house.

Williams' story is the epitome of how dreams can come true in the internet age. And practically overnight.

His story was first reported in the Columbus Dispatch; a photographer drove up to Williams on the side of the road and videotaped him as he held a sign that said in part, "I have a God given gift of voice." The photographer wanted him to prove it to earn some cash, and boy, did Williams deliver. He rattled off, in a James Earl Jones-esque voice, what seemed like a perfect radio station tease.

YouTube: Watch full video

The story exploded from there. From all over the internet, including on the message board Reddit, people began tracking his whereabouts and trying to offer him jobs. That led to radio interviews and even an interview with CBS's "Early Show" today.

Oh, and did we mention that the video of him speaking for the Dispatch reporter has gotten (as we write this) more than 4.5 million hits in just two days? It's also the top viral video, according to ViralVideoChart.com, which tracks the rate of shares and clicks on videos.

Call him the radio-voice version of Susan Boyle.

Frumpy British singer Boyle "dreamed a dream" on a TV talent show and sold millions of records, proving that sometimes the most sensational voices come from the places you least expect. And then again, perhaps we jump to conclusions when we form impressions about people.

"Hand on heart, we didn't know what was coming at all," CNN's Piers Morgan, who was a judge on "Britain's Got Talent," recently said of Boyle."We were like 'Oh, my God, this is going to be a total train wreck.' We were all laughing and mocking.

"The moment she sang, you see our faces frozen into two kinds of horror," he added. "One, that we didn't recognize her talent, and two, that we now know there's going to be a YouTube clip for the rest of our lives of us mocking this amazing woman. ... So whenever I have someone coming on who is not your standard-looking pop star, I sit there resolutely, just in case."

Indeed, Morgan is applying that lesson with Williams, tweeting earlier, "Greatest unheard radio voice ever: http://bit.ly/hkeanN If you know this guy pls tell him to enter 'America's Got Talent'."

Now, Williams is experiencing a similar whirlwind tour.

Although he didn't have Boyle's TV platform, or a similar show that shot a Taiwanese boy to fame for singing like Whitney Houston, he did have the same power of the Web. Who knows how many people drove past Williams as he stood on the street, waiting for someone to recognize his talents, before he was taped and put on YouTube.

"Hopefully somebody from one of these television or radio stations will say, 'hey, I need a voice-over' or ' I need something,' " Williams said on "The Early Show."

And because of his internet rise to fame, now the dream that Williams has dreamed for so long for himself may also be coming true.

WEWS said that although they are still tightening up a deal, the Cavaliers offered him full-time voiceover work with the team and with Quicken Loans, the mortgage giant founded by Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, along with the mortgage for a house.

They may have lost the power of LeBron James in their building, but perhaps the Cavs have gained the power of a voice that may become a legend.

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Filed under: Ohio • Showbiz • Ted Williams
soundoff (421 Responses)
  1. james Griffin

    William, man I put you in the same category as James Earl Jones, the voice of the Lone Ranger intro and Superman intro. Truly it is a God-given gift, but you enhanced the natural ability he gave you. I believe very shortly that finding a home will be the least of your worries. Also, congrats on being sober for 2 years!! Keep up the great work..

    January 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. whoooo!!! HOMELESS

    Jewsus Lives!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. fred

    finally some great news about some oen that wants to work an correct their past lives errors. this gentleman shoudl be come a poster person for all rehab centers an be sought out by every school, hs or college as an inspiration for any one . not just folks recovering for alcohol an drugs, but just as a person trying to do better.

    MR WILLAIMS, SIR YOU IN DEED ARE MY HERO. BEST WISHES FOR A WONDERFUL FUTURE AN MAY GOD BLESS YOU.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. jt

    Slow Down America.... Good Pipes...Yes... Work Ethic? Unknown! After two years clean and sober. He is attempting to go right back into the environment that is strewn with Drugs and Alcohol. The Music/Recording Biz! Is he really strong enough? What happens at next! Second Chances are great, but just look at what America did to a 27 year career military after one mishap. FRIED HIM IN PUBLIC!....Watch your step TED! GOD BLESS AND KEEP YOU SAFE.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fric

      Is it suggested that he not go into a restaurant because they serve alcohol? We can blame a lot on addiction, and yes, outside influence can be a contributing factor. But this is not the real reason people become a slave to their addiction. If Mr. Williams has treated his addiction, he has to tools he needs to see him thru.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rosalind

      He is not going into the music/recording business. He's going to be a radio/tv announcer. Two totally different career fields, jt.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Lisa Wysocky

    So glad to hear that people are recognizing that the homeless are people, too, each with their own story. Those of us involved with ColbysArmy.org bring awareness to the homeless. We wish this man, as we do all people, great success.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Jared

    Hey CNN, I would read more of your articles and watch more of your videos if I didn't have to wait all day for your @twitter.com and @facebook.com content to load. Dump these garbage sites, they are turning America's mind to mush. Start a REVOLUTION! I got what you can "follow" and "like" hangin'.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. NoDoubt

    I haven't heard his voice yet but I'm happy that he is getting opportunities!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. ManOhMan

    Look out Mike Rowe!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. r.ortiz

    god bless you ted, you are an insperation to everyone with a voice like that you will get your life back! DONT put people down on their luck it can happen to any one, you brougth tears to my eyes great story compaired to whats out there.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. mike cbus

    Heard this guy on the radio this morning in columbus... people are offering him jobs, free vacations, etc, etc. Nice story, and nice to hear about someone on the front steps of the American Dream.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Elijah

    His voice is music to my ears, his face is angelical.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. DACOOLE

    Great voice. For radio. Definitely looks better on radio. Glad he got his act to gether an beat drugs and alcohol. Somebody give the guy a leg up! Good luck dude!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Melissa

    This man's success has nothing to do with coincidence or good timing. It has everything to do with the graciousness of God and how he answers prayers. Take note how this man gives the credit to God for his talent and his good fortune. God is amazing!!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Cedar Rapids

      just a pity god decided to visit him with years of drug and alcohol abuse and then homelessness before giving him this second chance.
      yay god is so good.

      January 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. akb

    I live in Columbus, Ohio where this man was 'discovered'. Unfortunately the 'haters' were already calling the local radio stations this morning saying he hasn't been clean and sober. To them I say 'so what?' Maybe this is the break he needs to help him become clean and sober. GOOD LUCK Mr. Williams! We are rooting for you!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. denise

    Good for him and GOD bless!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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