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Ted Williams (a.k.a The Golden Voice) is a Brooklyn-born drifter from Columbus, Ohio who became a YouTube sensation after getting filmed on the street by Columbus Dispatch reporter Kevin Joy.
On January 3rd, 2011, Kevin Joy uploaded a video to YouTube showing footage of Ted Williams panhandling and responding to Joy’s ostensible request for proof of his “gift of voice” by reciting various radio promotional segments. The video was re-uploaded by the YouTube account “RussiaToday”, which has accumulated over 17 million views as of December 12th, 2011.
His sign reads:
I have a God given gift of voice. I am an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times. Please! Any help will be greatfully [sic] appreciated. Thank you and God bless you / Happy Holidays
The video was posted to Reddit on January 4th, 2011 and received 20,509 up votes prior to being archived and was subsequently posted to the viral content site BuzzFeed the same day. On January 5th, USA Today reported that Williams had been offered a sports announcer position for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The same day, he was interviewed on the CBS Early Show and appeared on NBC’s Today Show the following day.
A video was uploaded to YouTube on January 6th showing Williams reunited with his mother after the two had not seen each other for twenty years.
On January 11, 2010 Something Awful posted their Ted Williams Photoshop contest.
On January 5, 2011, The Smoking Gun published an article revealing that Williams was a convicted felon and had been arrested many times for a variety of alleged criminal acts.
Williams, 53, has been busted for theft, robbery, escape, forgery, and drug possession. He is pictured at right in mug shots (click to enlarge) taken as a result of those Ohio collars, which stretch back more than two decades.
On May 7th, 2011, the Ohios News Herald reported that the Cavaliers job offer was no longer on the table for Williams:
The man with the golden voice, Ted Williams, is no longer associated with the Cavs. The homeless man was offered a position with the team, but it never came to fruition. He’s reportedly back in drug and alcohol rehab. The story was posted to Reddit on May 9th, 2011 after being published on NBC Sports.
On November 17th, 2011, The Orange Country Register reported that Williams was doing voiceover work in Dublin, Ohio for NECN Cable News and that Williams claimed to have been sober since May 4th, 2011.
Appearance at Occupy Protest
Search queries for "ted williams and “the golden voice” spiked in January of 2011, the same month the video broke on YouTube.
Reddit Homeless man w/golden radio voice in Columbus, OH [VIDEO] / 1/4/2011