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. CSUNikki

    WOW, I just watched the video of Ted talking to the Early show and he is all cleaned up and looking so happy! Wow, this is so amazing and I am happy that he is going back to New York to see his Mom. You can tell he truly appreicates this second change at life and I wish him all the best in life!

    To all you haters out there, get a life, grow up, think positive and stop being so negative.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. VoiceDad

    Good for him! I wish him only the best!

    I've been trying to get into Voice Over to support myself for several years. I've been told the same thing as this guy. (You have an incredible voice, you need to do audio books... voice like velvet...etc) I guess I went about it wrong. If I were homeless then everyone would give me a chance.

    Hey CNN, how about a story about all the rest of us trying to get work in Voice Over? Care to listen to my demo?

    January 5, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Bone

    Im as moved as the next man but I give this guy a week before he's back on the street. And he said he got two years sober, not that he was two years sober. He's too comfortable begging for money, makes me think the street is where he really wants to be.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ieat

    now THIS is what is great about America. People who made changes are given opportunities. And lots of people are ready to give that second chance. Way to go, America and the man with the golden voice!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Erica

    I'm so happy for this guy and what an amazing talent. I'm thrilled the Cavelirs offered him full time job, but a little surprised, however, to see that he's been given assistance for a mortgage on a house. A little scary to go from homeless to owning property, no? Perhaps they should have started him off on a small apartment and let him get settled/established before carrying and worrying about the burden of home ownership.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. ieat

    now THIS is what is great about America. People who made changes are given opportunities. And lots of people are ready to give that second chance. Way to go, the man with the golden voice!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JParis

    @ AmericanNightmare

    Sounds like someone took the jam out of your doughnut!! What a tool!! I agree with Ruskin your probaly some stuffy shirt anal conservative who cries like Boehner at the thought of someone getting a second chance. Do us all a favor and go play in traffic. God bless Mr. Williams and keep the faith to everyone who has fallen on hard times.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Thisisnothingnew

    NO, He's a siren in disguise, close your EARS!! >_<

    January 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    Not just his voice, but the way he was able to present the slogan with such ease. We all have ups and downs in life. Good luck!

    January 5, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Gunterma

    This man has an amazing voice and I can really see him going places. I hope that he can turn his life around in a positive way.

    January 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. MrsFizzy

    Piers Morgan is still an a**hole.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOB

      come on man, get a real job – sick of this crap –
      losers getting free money – just like the ones on welfare

      January 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. stephanie

    This is an awesome story of God's Grace and goodness. To those that only see his past, shame on you. Everyone deserves a 2nd chance.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Nothing to do with God at all, just a perceptive and interested individual who discovered someone with a hidden talent. America is one of those nations where such opportunities like this can happen, and kudos to this man. I hope he is very successful, and stays clean.

      January 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • mandyandthewall

      Amen, Amen.

      January 5, 2011 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pluto is a planet!

      Well said Brian.

      January 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Drin King Water

      Nothing to do with God darling! God has better things to do like look after all the children that have been maimed and wounded in Iraq by the invading Americans. This is just human intervention...nothing more, nothing less. Remember to pray for the innocent children in Iraq that have been maimed, orphaned, and killed by the invading Americans. I don't think the cost of securing the 'ancient' secrets and technology of Sumeria was worth all that has been lost.

      January 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • JiminNM

      Perhaps God will simply bow out of the lives of everyone who makes fun of the idea of God and just let them follow there desires to there natural end.

      January 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • G

      Great story – good for him!

      Does anyone know why his 9 adult children allowed him to be homeless?

      January 5, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      I just had a vision of god bringing me a margarita and a medium rare cheeseburger.... Her name tag says Allison.....but I'm not so sure!

      January 5, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • WDrad

      @Brain .. guarantee this guy thanks god for his opportunity.

      January 5, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alan

      It's the cynicism of those such as Drin King Water that makes these stories all the more wonderful.

      Quit hating.

      January 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • dje2671

      Stephanie, if there was a "god", why was he homeless in the first place. This has nothing to do with imaginary deities in the sky!

      January 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • MeOKC

      To Drin King Water: this story has nothing to do with what's happening on the other side of the world either. So shut up.

      January 5, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      There is no god.

      January 5, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Raz

      EVERYBODY deserves a second chance!.... EVERYBODY...

      January 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlene Morse

      You are soooooooooo right it is Gods Grace and everyone here on earth should be given a second chance. A big Million dollar smile to his heart. Money is nice but GOODNESS is great!!!! I hope he feels like he is holding every thing rich and golden in his hands and Does awesome things for himself and for others to learn how to open up there hearts.

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

      God had everything to do with it. Without God, he would of never inspired that man to make that sign, or give him that voice, or lead him down a path of suffering to get to that point where not only is he working his dream, he is doing it with a humble heart because of what he has been through. Hopefully you all go through the same trials he has gone through until you are made humble in God's eyes 🙂

      January 5, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cliff

      God has EVERYTHING to do with it. Ask Ted. He will tell you the same thing. I am moved by his words today despite what is in his past. He praised the Lord as the Bible tells us to. Thank you Ted for sharing a bit of your life with the rest of us. I am inspired. May God continue to bless you.

      January 5, 2011 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      I have seen a lot of homeless sleeping in the gutter......what is GOD'S plan for them?????

      January 5, 2011 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      Why only him?????
      Why can't GOD help ALL the homeless and poor?????

      January 5, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Keith Tallman

      In this day and age, to hear a story like this really makes you feel good....and if it doesn't there's something very wrong with you. I'm so happy for this guy. It really made my day.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      I just checked. God said HE didn't hire him. A human did.
      That said, I DO agree with second chances.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark9988

      Brian's just a little annoyance....

      January 5, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • rabbit

      I agree with you about a second chance. Unfortunately it only happens to a paltry few not because of grace of any deity but plain old dumb luck and the recognition by even the most thick-skinned of creatures among us to see, hear it, and value it. The internet works in wondrous ways.

      January 5, 2011 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scyrcrow

      So...you're saying that god's grace and goodness are the reason that this man is getting a 2nd chance at life? Where, then, is god's grace for the countless millions who AREN'T experiencing this reprieve?

      He is a man who went to school to create a voice. He is a man who put himself out everyday with an interesting story. He is a man, given the opportunity by another human being to tell that story, and the story was distributed by more human beings who were touched by a story that inspired them. This led MORE human beings to realize that this guy and the story that follows him could be a cash crop.

      I'm sorry – at what point is god to blame or praise for this?

      January 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nancy

      To the comment by Death Panel Sarah:
      Why can't God help all the homeless and poor? God doesn't work like that. He wants the rest of us to help our fellow man and woman.

      January 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      This man was truly blessed. But for everyone who complains and says, "Why doesn't God help all the other homeless people?" think about this: Maybe he wants YOU to help some of them. God helped this man so that people can see that they can make a difference in the world THEMSELVES.

      January 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Christina

      The Universe provides! When you shine the world shines back ...never let your light go out – that light is what leads others in darkness – it's God.

      January 5, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • TheWhip

      It's a prank, he's a dj punking you to get is call station id mentioned.

      January 5, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • ridicho

      Classic move Stephanie – referecing God & shame in the very same sentence. Get a life.

      January 5, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mei

      Ignore Brian's comment. God is there for everyone. You just have to ask for Him! A wonderful story and I hope this man is able to get his life back together. Drugs ruin so many good lives. Let's all pray this man finds happiness and success.

      January 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      Brian and scyrcrow are Right!!!!
      WDrad is talking to a "Brain"!!(maybe he needs one)
      Nancy and Tom, although not "right", are "trite"(and stupid). That is the 'classic' answer to "why not..."

      January 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      God bless Death Panel Sarah.
      Good luck at life not asking for God's help or believing that He can help you.

      January 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • dallasguy

      "Nothing to do with God at all, just a perceptive and interested individual who discovered someone with a hidden talent. America is one of those nations where such opportunities like this can happen..."
      It has as much to do with God as it has to do with 'America': meaning you criticizing that person's comment when you state such a stupid comment makes me want to puke all over you :~). Give me a freaking break! It's called the INTERNET and getting exposure and publicity. FYI, the internet, Youtube etc...exists all around the world-not only in your back yard.

      January 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      To Tom....Thanks, but I just ask you to eat your dead man's skin and drink his blood for me!

      January 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Death Panel Sarah, the only problem is that He's alive

      January 5, 2011 at 9:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      To Tom....whew...youv'e got it bad!!

      January 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom


      January 5, 2011 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldguy

      How does EVERYTHING turn into God IS and God ISN'T??? This story has nothing to do with that. A reporter was curious, filmed homeless man who could deliver on his claim, opportunity knocked, leading to, one hopes, a happy ending. End of story. There is no God in this story.

      January 5, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      To oldguy.....uh, it was on his sign......"I have a God given gift of voice."

      January 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • gadzilla

      It is funny how all the non-believers come out and lurk around to bash believers in the comment section. Oh, you are just so passionate and angry at a supposedly imaginary deity you claim you don't believe exists. Why then, I ask you, all the interest and anger toward those of us to whom God is very real? Okay, now attack me and called me deluded for believing in an imaginary deity, as such I believe you consider a waste of time and energy. And if I'm wasting time qand energy on a God I believe in, what are you doing? Wasting time and energy on something you don't believe exists. Now to me, that's just plain crazy. I'll ask God to help you with that if you like, as it seems that you two are on the outs. The balls in your court, that's called "free will." And no, he's not a big sugar daddy in the sky who heals all ills of life. That's probably part of what makes atheists so mad. I got over that.

      January 5, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. pw

    His voice is awesome. I'm glad he's getting a second chance.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      To "T"....."With are the bull"....
      are?.....Are you a pirate?

      January 5, 2011 at 6:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlotte

      Good for him! Nice to see that he was recognized, but also that he had the determination and gumption to recognize his own potential and attempt to market it. Glad someone picked up on it. So many people with all sorts of skills and abilities and gifts are overlooked, it's a pity. Nice that this one won't be wasted.

      January 5, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. T

    This is want America is all about ......helping those who need help. With are the bull that is going on with the Rep and the Dem......it is refreshing to see that some still have heart. And it is about giving a helping hand.......jobs.....food and etc. Lets get back to that PEOPLE. God bless you Mr. Williams because you turned your life into a message....you fell but you got back up!

    January 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • sgrho1922

      Your statement is awesome! God is in everything and this would have never occured if it was not for God. Everyone deserves another chance, if God can forgive why can't man do the same? This is such a blessing.

      January 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Janet T

      U nailed T. Well said.

      January 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      To .... T ....Yeah, that's right.... the Republican's sure won't help them!!!!!

      January 5, 2011 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      God can forgive???? What did this poor man do for God to forgive him??? Because he was homeless??
      I'm sorry, but you are stupid.
      (By the way, if God is in everything, I liked his role in 9/11)(sarcasm)

      January 5, 2011 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • gadzilla

      Death Panel Sarah, your hate has big hurt written all over it. You pretend to be glad for the homeless guy in the article, and crap on everyone in the comment section who has a different opion or GOD forbid, a typo. Ouch, little girl. You are hurting bad, just a little ball of hurt and venom. So sad.

      January 5, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • gadzilla

      Oh no! I typed opion instead of opinion. Obviously, I am totally worthless. Thank God for God, He still loves me!

      January 5, 2011 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aley Martin

    YAY, I knew he would have a job within hours.

    January 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • dje2671

      OK Nostradamus! Whatever

      January 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
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