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. Teddy

    That voice is terrific! Send him to CNN and have him replace Larry King.

    January 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Will

    This is a heart-warming story. It's amazing the talent that is discovered and within our streets. I read an interesting article where his mother speaks about his life and what she really thinks about him. Check this out: http://news.gather.com/viewArticle.action?articleId=281474978882320

    January 6, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. John Kaufman, Oceanside, CA

    Here is the sad thing on this. This man has real, true talent, yet look at what they are offering him, minimun wage, as little as possible, come on, this voice is worth a whole lot more than that and you people ALL know it, you only want to cash in on his talent and ride his own coat tail and make a big profit. That is pathetic and this is what is distroying this country it's called GREED!!

    January 6, 2011 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. steel

    WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1 OMG OMG OMG

    January 6, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vanessa Houk

    How many people die in doorways, homeless on the streets every day of the year who also have great talent that none of us can see.

    That is the real story within the story.

    January 6, 2011 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sharon Kennedy

    Wow!!! What a wonderful voice!!! What a talent...and what a way to get discovered!!! I'm looking forward to hearing that golden voice often and pray he stays straight and has a wonderful life. Can't wait to read his book and see the movie!!! ;o)

    January 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ms. White

    Good for Ted, and his amazing voice! I hope he earns more than minimum wage, too. However, as an elementary teacher, I'm living off similar low wages, and my school district, which can't afford toilet paper, definitely isn't securing a home for me. Perhaps one day, America, the great, will be a nation with social programs that can really help many of its citizens in need. I sure wouldn't mind paying taxes then. I wish Ted and the millions of unemployed and homeless struggling in this economy the best. I will pray that he continues to be stronger than his former addiction. In a country with the greatest medical facilities in the world, there should be more help for people turning to drugs and alcohol for an escape. Life is stressful. Lend a hand.

    January 6, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Riney

    Ted I really hope you get to read this comment. Seeing your story on TV and then learning more on youtube has really touched my heart to the point of tears. No I don't have a job to offer you or even money to send. But I do have hope to share of all that God can and will do for you if you let Him. I lost it all to drugs, my home, cars, family. I even did some time in prison. But by the grace of a forgiving God, I am now where He wants me to be and so will you.

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

    Wow , what a voice!!! you sure have a true voice for radio. God Bless You.

    January 6, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Didier

    Go Ted Go the world will be your.God bless you.

    January 7, 2011 at 2:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. rev. norberto saranilla

    a nice/good discovery of talents... God bless the downtrodden.

    January 7, 2011 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  12. A Perez

    If you read the charges, you see he's committing crimes to survive. The business owner doesn't want to identified because he knows most people would boycott his business. Why didn't he offer Ted a small job instead of just trying to "shoo" him away?

    January 7, 2011 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. carlos

    I want a philly cheese steak 🙂

    January 7, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Duy

    That man is a former United States Marine

    January 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Handyman

    What about all the rest of the homeless people and the people who still have homes but dont have a job and a golden voice!

    January 10, 2011 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
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