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. Myk

    God bless him, keep it up brother. Thanks to the Cavaliers too!

    January 5, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NOT A SHEEP

    Proud to say I havent looked at his youtube video nor will I just because someone (the media) says he has a great voice.
    NOT A SHEEP!

    January 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeepers

      I watched it and he really does...and I'm not a member of the media. Plus you learn more about the story by watching the actual video. You seem to be trying awfully hard to not be something.

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

      That's a rather silly statement, the proof lies in his voice, but your to full of yourself to give him the benefit of the doubt to even afford him the opportunity to prove it. You have nothing to be proud of.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrsFizzy

      You're proud of that? Well OK. But doesn't it kind of make you a sheep that you clicked on the link to read about him??

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

      And yet, here you are, commenting just like many others. Baaaaa

      January 5, 2011 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jeff

    where this man come from is he from outer space, what a voice never heard ashame

    January 5, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jeepers

    I hope one of the first things he does after he gets settled to a home is to get to a dentist. I'm concerned about his teeth.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Carole Clarke

    Good for him!!! The most impressive thing he said in this clip was that he was two years sober. Have seen a more recent clip of him – he cleans up very nice, very preppie clothing and short hair. He's been thru his hell, now it's his turn for a wonderful future. Bravo.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark, Toronto

      That is the only sad part of this. So the guy's been homeless, what we're people expecting that he'd wake up nice and "preppy" in a Saville Row suit tomorrow? And the nasty comments by some are just proof Americans have become mean spirited. The man wants to work – cut him some slack.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohsnap

      To Mark, Toronto: AMEN to THAT!

      January 5, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Vomit

    What a great story! Peace and Blessings my brotha! Success is on the way!

    January 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nashville says

    good luck ted!!! we are behind you!

    January 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Alan

    Great story!

    Another soul to be made happy!

    January 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carol

    What a wonderful touching story ~ I pray the sudden fame and money will inspire him to stay true to his sobriety and help him rebuild his life. He has a wonderful talent and has the world open to him. God bless him and the reporter who has opened our eyes and hearts this wonderful man.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Commercial Break

    You know how many cans of OxyClean that voice can sell?! He's the new Billy Mays.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Lisa

    I'm so happy for him. I think we all make mistakes in life, and he definitely has, falling into the clutches of drugs and alcohol. I'm glad that he's got 2 years sober and I really hope he takes this GOD given opportunity and runs with it. Be a shining light and example for others, to show that ANYTHING is possible with GOD. Nothing happens by chance or accident. His voice is amazing and I wish only the best for him in the future.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark, Toronto

      How funny, you focus more on talking about "GOD" than the man this article was supposed to be about.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. bill

    this is actually Keith Richards from the Rolling Stones isn't it?

    January 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pam

      Keith Richards doesn't sound that good, Bill!! LOL!! I can see the resemblance, though.

      January 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tim dale

    I never believed in miracles, today I stand corrected!
    That voice would be great for self help audio books as well. Maybe his own on how he quit his addictions. I'll buy them!
    God bless

    January 5, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. lynn

    Just amazing! I wish him the very best of what's to come. Bless his heart – I'd listen to that voice anytime. Beautiful.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Propofol

    Wish him all the luck, but a real slap in the face to those of us who've been struggling to break in for years and still can't even get an agent. Guess I should've dressed up like a homeless guy and read copy outside a 7-11.

    Yes, I'm sure it's that my voice sucks.

    January 5, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark, Toronto

      Thats called, tough luck, he got the break you didn't, and thats assuming you have even close to the same voice.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Melissa

      His success is an answered prayer from God. He gives God the credit for his talent and success. It has nothing to do with luck.

      January 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • ohsnap

      Life is like that. Didn't you ever see Amadeus?

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