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.
Click to watch video
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.
I'm jealous. I've been homeless with kids for 4 years and no one ever gave me a home, despite my working my butt off at 3 jobs just to keep us in a hotel room. Good for him!
JT- don't be so negative. People become homeless for many reasons. Sometimes they get lost in the shuffle. Men especially, because it can sometimes stem from depression. Doesn't mean they are bad people. Think you are safe from ever being homeless yourself? I doubt anybody grows up believing it would ever happen to them.
You know, years ago (before this economic crisis hit) Oprah did a show on just what yo are saying. How it only takes one thing, one peg pulled out from the pile, to make everything fall. She showcased several examples but one I remember: A middle-class family. Husband and wife both working, doing ok. Had a couple of kids. The husband got cancer. Lost his job and health care. Then the wife lost her job. In a couple of years, between no job, and the sickness, they lost everything. It taught me a lesson.
This story made me cry, but in a good way.
I wish things like this would happen to more good people.
This man is a treasure, I wish him all the best. You never know what's around the corner in life.
Wow..how awesome for him. Clean him up and get him to a dentist asap and houston we have a winner. He definitely has a radio voice. I wish him well and may he blessed.
WHAT a GREAT Story....stay sober and you will acheive your dreams Ted!!
omg! What an amazing voice! I saw his You-Tube video last night as was awestruck on how good he is. I am soooo happy that Ted got a deal for as job and that is so cool that God is blessing him with favors since he now has sober. I wish Ted all the best in his new career and, wow, that just totally made me happy to hear some good news. Best of Luck TED!
I disagree with American Nightmare, one of the first to post. This guy knows he screwed up and hopefully, with his own talent and others who recognize this talent, he can pull his life back together again. He has clearly and dearly already paid for his drug & alcohol addictions...I hope he does well...he deserves an opportunity.
You not only sound extremely jealous, but pretty bitter and mean-spirited. Why not be happy for someone's good fortune (and yes, he is deserving as Mr. Williams appears to have a good heart).
Let me guess...you're a "conservative" right?
Amazing!!!!!!!!!! this guy satisfied!! he got what he wanted listen his interview:
Cool voice. It is somehow the perfect voice I would imagine for a commercial.
He is not that unique. If all you had to do all day was talk to yourself one could get very good at that voice. lot's of men could perfect that voice equally or even better. In fact he sort of has a lisp. What also is not unique, is any business jumping on the "good publicity" band-wagon. There are many talented people who can do this job, many of which have worked hard to get through school or sacrificed in their life and haven't gotten anything from anybody. Why wasn't he working someplace instead of begging for money? It's nice to rejoice is someone's good fortune, but if you really think about it. He is not deserving of this attention. The guy who is working three jobs to support his wife and kids. That's the guy who deserves attention. Wake up America.
If you're not one already, why don't you become a reporter so that you can go out and find those stories about a man working three jobs to support his family. We know they are out there. We're well aware of all the decent people with families to support who can't find work, but this is story unlike any others we've ever read. Take it for what it is and (like AmericanNightmare) quit complaining.
To AmericanNightmare: Please tell us about your story of "woe is me". What got your knickers all in a bunch?
This is a great story. Good for him! Finally a nice news story. A lot better than all of the depressing things I have been hearing lately.
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