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. Jason

    Wow! I was speechless the very first second I heard him speak. Best wishes to him.

    January 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      This man.s voice was amazing, I believe this man will be someone we hear about soon. I know this will take him places, and what a sweet spirit.

      January 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmericanNightmare

      Yes.. this is an American nightmare... drunks and drug addicts who can speak become national celebrities and get job offers. .. as decent, law-abiding, sane people collect unemployment checks – or even worse – salary erosion in dead end jobs. We are a sick nation. This "story of hope" is ludicrous and insulting. EVERYONE can talk in radio voice. That is my opinion.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • tularockstar

      AMNightmare, are you kidding? How negative can you be? Maybe you could learn a thing or two from this man. Yes, he was involved in drugs and alcohol, but he wasn't robbing banks or liquor stores. Instead, he panhandles for change. It's degrading, but an honest way of earning a buck. People like you only see the negativity and always look in the mirror and hate yourself every morning you wake up! This talented homeless man will now make more money than you ever will! Just hope that you'll never fall on tough times and have to panhandle for a living! Karma will get you every time.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • rcarnright

      AmericanNightmare- While you have a right to your opinion, I strongly disagree. Just because someone makes poor choices in life, doesn't mean they are condemned to eternal misery. This guy is catching a break and I wish him the best. Now if he screws this opportunity up, then it wasn't meant to be and you can say I told you so.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • LEB

      I agree, his voice is incredible. I sincerely hope this helps him find work and escape the prison of homelessness. Plus he wouldn't be a bad-looking guy with some clean clothes, a haircut, and some dental repairs.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Woo_hoo

      AmericanNightmare is probably someone who sits on the couch all day doing nothing and blames everyone for everything. Why such negative comments? Its inspiring to see this homeless guy get a breakthrough! God bless him and i hope this will inspire others.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • chiku

      Hi FreeJustice aka AmericanNightmare,

      Your usual bitterness and hate coupled with your signature retarded signoff "that is my opinion".......gave you away. Anyway, just for your information, not everyone or very many people at all can speak as beautifully as this gentleman. Since you claim to so easily, why not do what he's doing? Oh that's right, nobody wants to hear you speak or your opinion on anything. Dude, get a life. All you ever do is offer hateful remarks on others who are actually doing something with their lives, unlike you.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      come on man, get a real job – sick of this crap – losers getting free money – just like the ones on welfare

      January 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      come on man, get a real job – sick of this crap – losers getting free money – just like the ones on welfare

      January 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • sockpuppet

      why is everyone so SHOCKED that a homeless man can speak with a radio voice. He trained for it. Now he's homeless. WOW a homeless person is actually a human being with skills! It's not like he invented the IPAD in the back of a dumpster. That would be shocking. I really hope he's clean now and can get a leg up. The problem is most people who are homeless are mentally ill or addicts. Let's hope we don't find out a year from now he ended up back on the streets due to his addiction. I am not being mean, just realistic. I've known too many addicts.

      January 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Not so skinny

    But wait, there's more!

    January 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Elliot

    I am pleased to say that I'm from Columbus as well. This is truly remarkable and to watch this man this morning break down and cry because of the offers and gestures of kindness......it was amazing.

    I really wish him the best and want to Thank Everyone that has seen the same opportunity to 'HELP' as we here locally saw.

    God Bless

    January 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Torianna

      Wow, this story made me teary-eyed.... God is really looking out for this man; God Bless him!

      January 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Only onetime

      I'm from Columbus as well. I believe that I have seen this man on that corner not too long ago. I remember seeing the small sign he carried but I didn't take the time to read his sign. I'm really happy for him. This is a great story!

      January 5, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robin

    Not only did I listen to this mans voice but also noticed the way he carries himself in the utube video ( he is very articulate).
    He says he is clean and sober ( 2 years) and that is very impressive as well. You go man! You have
    an awesome voice. Stay clean and sober and you will do well !

    January 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karl Blessing

      I see a public speaking of drugs and alcohol abuse in his future.

      January 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. CAM

    What a great story!!! Its about time good things happen to deserving people. Lets hope he makes the most of this opportunity and becomes a great success story for people to tell. Congrats Ted Williams!!!

    January 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmericanNightmare

      A quitter, a drug addict and alcoholic is a deserving person? What about all the people who worked for 30 years and are now unemployed? huh? What "anti-depressant" is rendering your perception so "rose-colored?"

      January 5, 2011 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohsnap

      When we don't have the ability to be happy for someone else, we are truly in trouble. And I say this as a person who lost their full-time job more than 2 years ago. BEST WISHES TED!!!

      January 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Denis Brazilian

    Optimus Prime Voice

    January 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • XWngLady

      Yes. He sould make a perfect Optimus Prime!

      January 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Peggy

    I find it ironic that a story about the man with such a nice and soothing voice is being narrated by a woman whose voice is, um, well.. not nice and soothing at all. haha

    January 5, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Torianna

      HAHAHA! It's funny because it's true! 🙂

      January 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • jemron

      haha! Totally agree. That bit where she was at the microphone in the recording booth almost made me turn it off. Good thing the video was contrasted by Ted's nice voice.

      January 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ben

    Finally a great story to warm the heart after the dismal day I have had watching the Repubs take back the House.

    January 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  9. gina

    I could NOT believe it!!! THAT voice!!! I wish him all the luck!!

    January 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. sha


    January 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  11. bklo

    I think he should put that amazing voice to good use speaking to children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol abuse. You can have an amazing talent and still end up on the streets. I hope he keeps it going and has many more sober years.

    January 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. gman

    Wow..this guy looks just like "Mel Gibson" from lethal weapon..You know what the heck is wrong with people? He was trained. He had a radio job and got into drugs. Many homeless people were skilled that ran into mental or drug problems etc. Why is it such a shock that a homeless guy has a skill? It is insulting.

    January 5, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      It's not necessarily JUST the fact that he has skill, it's that he is very articulate, and seems to be sort of normal (other than looks). I can tell you from working in DC that I see very few people that have only one of those attributes . . . that appear to be *clean and sober*, OR *articulate*, or *normal* in any way, much less more than one of those attributes plus very skilled at anything that anyone knows about. Plus, he doesn't seem to just be skilled, but (and i'm definitely not a voice evaluator or anything like that), but, from my first impression, it sounds like his skill or talent would be one of the best in his *profession*.

      January 5, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. laura

    i am so happy for him, good luck

    January 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Rhonda

    Everyone deserves a second chance. I wish him the best of luck and I hope that he is given that opportunity to turn his life around! what a great story! Congratulations on your sobriety! Best of Luck to you!

    January 5, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. adam

    His voice is AWESOME!! Glad someone was able to help him out.

    January 5, 2011 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
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