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. Kyle

    This is great! Good for him. Check out his facebook. /TedTheVoice! GO TED!

    January 5, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kyle

    Way to go Ted!! His facebook is /TedTheVoice. Go Ted!!

    January 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chan Marshall rules!

    I hope all the best for Mr. Ted Williams. I got teary-eyed when I saw the original video. To BOB, Matt and "victim of democrat hypocrisy" : Amazing! How can you people be so mean? "victim of democrat hypocrisy", have you been brainwashed so much that you see the world through a democrat/republican prism? I know a lot of republicans, many of them are Christians. They are compassionate, caring and believe in the power of redemption and second chances. I also know many democrats that are exactly the same way. I also know many atheists that are the same way as well. So you know what, you can't group all people of any political party, religion or lack of it in the same boat!
    PS. I think Ted Williams looks a little like Sammy Davis Jr. I think the poor man with a little more food in his belly and a new outfit would look pretty handsome. All the best!

    January 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tt

    Promises coming to pass...

    January 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Turk

    WOW !!

    January 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. clifford j schwartz

    I have been homeless since july 27th and I have two children boys ages 5and8 I cant get any help from the state of connecticut!!I am in a new relationship and myself and my fiancee are in the same homeless situation and she to has 2children ages 3 and 5 we need help please!!Thankyou

    January 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. me

    best of luck going forward. too bad so many yearswere lost due to drugs/alcohol...lessons.
    can't change what was...only what can be.

    January 5, 2011 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. phil

    What an uplifting story! I wish Mr Williams all the success in as he puts it the years he has left. Ignore the nay sayers and continue on with your life. Not everyone gets a second chance so cherish it.

    January 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. clifford j schwartz

    I forgot to clearify how long I have been homeless for since july27th 2009.I do work through Labor ready in middletown connecticut when they call me with work asignments and I just landed a job with wendys in colchester ct.It has been a very long stressful battle just to get this far!!!I would appreciate any help from anyone please.Thankyou so much everyone!!!

    January 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mizz Rozay

    I saw this story on the Today show & Matt said they were going to fly him to NY on tomorrow & try to help him find a job. Now they can interview him & ask how it feels to have a job!! Thanks to the Cleveland Cavs he is no longer jobless or homeless!! Shout out to the man upstairs!! God is good all the time!! All the time God is good!!

    January 5, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      God was great in New Orleans during Katrina!!!!! Yay!

      January 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Eric

    Great story and I also agree that there are lots of homeless individuals out there with many talents...
    During hard times in this economy it's nice to hear something positive for once!
    I think everyone should "leave God at the door" when posting on here because not everyone cares to hear about it, it just turns into more debate that has never and will never be resolved!!! Good for Ted and I wish the best for him and everyone else who has a dream and actually pursues it!

    January 5, 2011 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Anita

    Nothing short of a miracle. When he found God, God found him. The "Secret" at work. And his 92 year old mother did live to see him rebound as he had prayed she would. Faith does move mountains. He has learned a lot in two years, one thing being that there are good caring people out there who will help. Not everyone is a cynical disbeliever who pokes fun at anything they don't understand or disrespects people who are down and out. Those kind of people would have to walk a mile in Mr. Williams shoes to understand.

    January 5, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      It's because alligators have all those teeth and no toothbrush!!
      And don't say it's the medulla oblongatta, Colonel Sanders!!!

      January 5, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. phillip

    good story, hope it works out for him

    January 5, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ted's Neighbor

    Ted was not homeless, nor had he been in the past year. He also has not been clean two years–in fact I regularly see him tweeked out of his mind and carrying bottles of malt liquor home with him. Great voice or not, how are so many thousands of people jumping to the conclusion that he is a great guy? Did you know current drug addicts can carry on a normal conversation to?

    When did we start praising junkies who run panhandling scams for drug money? The sign he had was to get drug money (yes, people give more money to panhandlers with gimicky signs, it's a fact), not to actually secure a job as a decent person. So many hard working Americans getting shafted economically, yet for entertainment value and lies we praise a junkie.

    This is INJUSTICE.

    January 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • regertz

      If you're telling the truth and not dumping on the guy for fun, it will come out soon enough when he blows his new won position. Hopefully, whatever the truth is he'll find a way to keep his new gains. Sorry but we've no more reason to trust you than him and even if you really are his neighbor you may not know his true story. Anyway, he has a great chance and I hope he makes the best of it. Clearly at some point he had energy and discipline to some extent, maybe this will get him back on track, we'll see. Since you don't seem to offer any valid reason to hold a grudge against him except jealousy over his sudden fame, I'll hope for his success. If he fails, you can enjoy sneering at the world for giving him a chance.

      January 5, 2011 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anita

    Those who don't want to hear about God, too bad. These posts arn't for you. People post as an expression of their own thoughts and feelings,, not to criticize or debate with non-believers and sarcastic cynics.

    January 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric

      It's about a homeless man who was noticed for his great talent that he went to school for, it was not just given to him. He even said himself he trained his voice, God did not train his voice for him nor did he possess people to stop and listen to him and post it online lol. And learn to spell.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      Waaaa....Waaaaa ...Boo hoo Anita Bryant!!

      January 5, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
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