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. ohsnap

    This story makes me teary every time I watch. How many people passed this guy and thought..."There goes a bum"? A lesson for us all...you never know about a person.

    January 5, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean

      I get teary too! What a wonderful story!!

      January 5, 2011 at 9:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Dave

    What a great feel good story! I'm so happy for you Ted.

    January 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Name

    Shut up all you Jesus freaks

    January 5, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dan

    Here's the rest of the story - amazing! I'm so glad for this man

    !http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZncAHywtEuM

    January 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jean

    This is a wonderful story!!!!! It's a shame even with a great story people have to argue??? Very sad. God bless this man and Iam soo happy for him!

    January 5, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse |
  6. kevin

    what anmzing guy he should be payed alot of money for the vocie he has WONDERFUL:)

    January 5, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nick

    Looks strangely similar to Don Imus!

    January 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • fototaker Tony

      saw on the Spanish news how that homeless man with the radio voice has found employment... showing that there are good people out there, and that good things CAN happen, when everyone opens their heart. Dreams aren't impossible, WE just make it impossible... go fly toward your dream!!

      January 6, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Blondie

      I'm truly happy for him! It's sad, my brother is homeless as well in Columbus, OH. No one has given him a chance and the system for the homeless is horrible in Columbus. It's a vicious cycle that those living there have to endure! I would say most homeless have great families, but we all don't look at the fact with today's economy we may be that homeless person some day!

      January 6, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • David in Bermuda

      Even better he just got invited to Bermuda, his favorite childhood vacation spot that he talked about with Ann Curry on the Today Show. Check out the latest coverage on Bermuda Shorts: http://bit.ly/h4j2RY

      January 7, 2011 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • wanda champion

      would you please have ted williams to get in touch with me. mail wanda at 2863 silver run road , oxford, ala.36203 i would like to know if i have run across him in my travels helping other homeless people. i have a christian shelter that i,m trying to get of the ground in coldwater community in alabama. my place is called camp courage. and i,m very inspired in ted williams program of the second chance and i would like to know more. plus, i would like to let ted williams know that we are keeping him in our prayers. thanks, ted williams, keep the faith. amen sincerely, wanda

      February 8, 2011 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
  8. Clara

    Williams got a chance, and I'm happy for him and the man that generated the interest.

    I'd like to talk about Bradley Manning who isn't getting any chances and who, I believe, is a Whistle Blower and not a traitor. I expect a whole lot of garbage thrown at me for that by the tight-minded and ignorant, but look into the facts of his incarceration at Quantico and see if that treatment is justified.

    It's nice to hear GOOD News once in awhile.

    January 5, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. trixen

    Wow... get this man a job on the radio!!

    January 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Joe

    God has blesed this man with a amazing talent. And for the reason of him giving his time for god, he has received such gift. This is a dream come true. I wish only the best for Ted and his future.

    January 5, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Natasha

    I can not believe that they want to offer him at least minimum wage??!! What an insult. I know he's homeless but dont take advantage of him!

    January 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. voiceover

    There is already a Ted Williams song! 🙂 Looks like he's taking his talents to South Beach.

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EatuYskh5IQ&w=640&h=360]

    January 5, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. charlibean

    As for the homless man who is now a inspiration to many of us and it all startedwith a voice that started his

    January 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Judy

    Glory to God for Ted Williams. In a county who wants to take God out of everything. Even at Mr. Williams lowest point, he still gives God the glory that he so richly desires. God bless you Mr. Williams.

    January 6, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
  15. respect

    That is why you can't juge a book by it'S cover, i send blessing to him.

    January 6, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
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