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. king_pookie

    God blessed him he really did...to go from being homeless to haven a job n everything dats da grace of god...

    January 6, 2011 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  2. Brian

    You know, I want to believe him and I wish him the best and I apologize for being cynacle, but he seems awfully polished, comfortable and well spoken for a homeless man who has been living in a tent for the past 4 years. It seems like he has been on radio for the past ten years. Good luck in your comeback my friend!

    January 6, 2011 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
    • artrain

      If you listen to his story, he had a good upbringing. Why is it when a black guy speaks correct English, some how he's "polished"?
      People used to say those same kind of sily staements to me, when I was growing up.

      January 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. katehall123

    We submitted a request for a mortgage quote and received 3 great offers at "123 Mortgage Refinance". Thank you for helping us lower our house payment with 3.14% mortgage refinance rate. Highly recommend and best place for mortgage refinance.

    January 6, 2011 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jon O

    Two years clean – keep it up, man!

    January 6, 2011 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
  5. Sammie

    You might think how it's weird that he just stands outside and wants people to hear his voice..when I first saw this I thought maybe it was a scam and he actually had previous jobs and wanted people to feel bad for him because he was homeless so they gave it a shot! Weird how that stuff happens!

    January 6, 2011 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Eileen

      It's a shame u feel this way, u never know when or where things may go wrong for u. God can give it and take it away
      Wow!!! I hope this will never happen to you, don't be so judgemental. This is why TED WILLIAMS is where he is today
      he kept his faith and never gave up. What about u? Blessings to all the homeless and less fortunate that struggle threw
      life everyday!!!!!! SOME OF US DO HAVE HEARTS

      January 6, 2011 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Sammie, he DID have a previous job. Read his sign. He used to do radio voiceovers. Then he went on the skids and ended up homeless.
      Now he has turned himself around and has been given a second chance at life.
      It is a credit to him that he is still has the poise and polish of a radio personality and did not let the hell he has lived through ruin his character. It is stil there under that dishevelled exterior. I saw a news item this morning that showed him all cleaned up and doing voiceovers in a studio, still thanking everyone around him for the chance to get back on his feet.

      January 6, 2011 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  6. ts

    God Bless and Good Luck to Mr.Williams....and to DeathPanelSarah...which multiple personality are you today???Do us all a favor and take your meds.God Bless you also.

    January 6, 2011 at 8:33 am | Report abuse |
  7. connie schaap

    OMG! YOU GIVE UP SEEING YOUR MOTHER WHO WAS WAITING FOR YOU AT THE AIRPORT FOR FAME...WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU. I WAS SO TOUCHED WHEN I SAW YOUR INTERVIEW ON THE MORNING SHOW YESTERDAY AND YOU STARTED CRYING BECAUSE YOU WERE GOING HOME TO SEE YOUR 92 YEAR OLD MOTHER....WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, SHE WAS HEART BROKEN WHEN SHE DID NOT GET TO SEE YOU....I GUESS YOU ARE AFRAID YOU WILL LOSE YOUR FAME. I AM SO DISAPPOINTED AND SO IS YOU LOVELY MOTHER. SHE SAID SHE UNDERSTANDS BUT SHE WAS HEARTBROKEN. HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO YOUR MOTHER....GOD BLESS HER HEART...YES I AM YELLING DON'T GET ME WRONG I AM HAPPY FOR YOU TO BE GIVEN A SECOND...THIRD OR EVEN FORTH CHANCE BUT YOU MIGHT NOT GET THAT CHANCE TO SEE YOUR MOTHER AND A PHONE CALL WON'T DO IT

    January 6, 2011 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • artrain

      A competing station whisked him away and I am sure they lied to him about what their intentions were, so, don't blame the guy.

      January 7, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ted

    Take it and run with it, man. There's a lot of us rooting for you.

    January 6, 2011 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  9. Lee McKinney

    Please someone give this man the support/rehab that he needs to truly be successful and independant. Please do not allow the media to set him up for failure. We hope and pray for a true second chance for this man. He will need months of therapy not just a quick fix.

    January 6, 2011 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  10. Jason

    Way to go Ted Williams!!!!!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RF8sfxBPsFI

    January 6, 2011 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
  11. Jeff Christian

    Will Fame Return Ted Williams to the Street?
    For us alcoholics and addicts, our egos can literally kill us. I sat at the top of the business world ten years ago, quoted in all the top magazines and newspapers – at least one every week. A regular guest on CNBC and NPR, Random House published my book. I was running a venture fund and a major company, CTPartners, which just went public. I lost that company and everything else. The company I started made millions for everyone but me.
    I hope Ted Williams doesn’t follow my path. He’s clean and sober today, which is priceless beyond belief. Holding on to that is difficult for any one of us, only 5 out of 100 people suffering from this disease stay clean and sober.
    I wasn’t homeless but I was pretty close, going from one bad motel to the next. Ted has a chance but, with fame, it’s going to be next to impossible. It was for me. Staying humble is a cornerstone of my program today.

    January 6, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  12. lee

    thats a blessing

    January 6, 2011 at 11:00 am | Report abuse |
  13. Crystal

    God bless you Mr. Williams. Everyone needs a second chance and God has looked upon you and wants you to use that golden voice and realize that you are indeed worthy of people's love and support. This world is full of good people and you are definitely one of them and we are all cheering for you, move on and give us all that we know you have to give, God bless your mother and family..... This is one of those stories that make life worth living! .LOL

    January 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Clara

    He came to New York to be reunited with his Mother who was at the airport to greet him, but she was unable to do so because he was whisked away by a competing Network. What a SHAME!!!!

    January 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Poly

    I love this guy, a beautiful voice indeed! Good news for a change! 🙂

    January 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
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