The credence the Ted Williams story has given the voiceover industry.

By Zurek


Every so often the internet gets a video that goes viral, and when it hits - it's like a California wild fire!

Just 5 days into the new year, a video of a homeless ex-radio personality, Ted Williams hit the net... and the snowball kept rolling! With more than 12 million views, by now many of you have seen the video, the interviews, reunions and have heard about the many clients "The Golden Voice" has garnered in just a matter of days.

What is the attraction?

For starters, Our voice is our indispensable PR agent, and its sound can decide whether we are admired or rejected. But it is also subject to fashion and social peculiarities (source). Most deep voices are the stamps of authority, and nothing is more appealing than an underdog, but with the gift of voice.

The 'underdog' story of redemption dates as far back as David & Goliath, and is seen on television, the silver screen and many Disney type animations. These are the types of 'feel good' endings that most people love, and Walt Disney knew best with his creation of Disney World that it would never go to waste as long as we have imagination and love a fairy tale ending. While many of our stories do not always end happily, the success of Ted Williams is like food for the soul.

On the other side if the track, there are a few that can not wrap their minds around why this is happening to him and not them. In fact, my first thought was, "Wow! I know alot of guys with this type of voice, and they're barely working!" Mostly because the deep guy had become recently extinct in the commercial industry when Don Lafontaine left us.

Whether you agree or not, Don started the job with his Geico commercial, and various appearances on network television after years of hiding in the booth.The story of Ted Williams has brought relevance and credence to our over looked industry, and has given the once shoned deep voiced announcer another shot at redemption.

Just a word of advice, a voiceover coach can separate one voice actor from the next.

To date, I have heard of two television reality shows geared toward the voice actor, and have already seen auditions looking for a voice actor with the Ted Williams voice.

Many of you may be down on your luck, but with prayer, hard work and a great attitude - doors will open for you too. As for Ted Williams,  This is his  time to shine.

Let's just hope he has the right people in his corner to keep him on the straight and narrow.

We're rootin' for ya, Ted!

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Replies to This Discussion

Many good points here. The rags to riches backstory is great and yes, it IS Ted's time to shine. I just hope that six months down the road when all the "glamor" of his story fades and he's just another guy at an audition, that he has learned the skills of a voice over actor and not just a one-trick-pnony with the announcer voice. Otherwise I fear he may slip back to those bad habits that pushed hinm into the streets in the first place.


I do wish him all the best in his life, it is his time, let's see what he makes of it!



Great story about Ted. I am sure he will find his way. Hopefully God will guide him, not the desire for fame and money. God is the reason this all came about. God is sensitive to a "mother who prays" and it sounds like his mom did a lot of that! None of us should be jealous of his overnight success.....would you want to live 10 plus years on the street? No thank you. Ted has done his time. God bless him! Hopefully we can all support him with pure hearts and open arms to the voice over world!!



Very well written.  I completely and whole heartedly agree with all that you have spoken about.  I wish Ted all the best in all of his future endeavors.

For some of us, it's been a long hard and difficult road. However, I believe, speaking for myself only, my GOD will make it happen on his time, not mine.  Until then, I keep pushing forward and give it my best and draw on the inspiration of HIM and individuals like Ted and so many others to keep things in perspective.


Thank you so much for sharring your thoughts as always.


Mike Patrick


I couldn't have said it better myself. We are often the unseen side of entertainment and commercial products. This story just makes our jobs that much more recognized and appreciated. Heck, what would RADIO be without DJs, announcers, and commercial voice actors??? I am grateful that Ted is getting a second shot and it bodes well for anyone trying to make it in this industry. Sometimes it just takes a ton of hard work and other times it's just about who you know or being in the right place at the right time. Never give up on your dreams. Kudos for a well-written and thought-out piece, Zurek.

Being one of those with a Deep Voice, I Thank God every day for the gift I have been given.  I thank the reporter from the Columbus Dispatch for shining the light on this man. I thank God for helping a "lost soul" find his way back from addiction.  I hope that Mr. Williams has a long, long, successful career! 


I pray that soon it will be my turn.

The voice is a tool, much like a paint brush or a hammer.  Having it is one thing - using it is another.  Best of luck to Ted, and all my VU friends.

Nice article. Perhaps Ted will bring a new surge of larger than life authoritative announcer voices (my favorite)

You can't help but feel good for the guy. Many work for years to become an overnight internet sensation. Think about it--how long had he been on the street, entertaining the locals with his voice. How many of them had a video camera, but did not post it online? 


I hope he does well, and surrounds himself with true friends, and not yes-people and opportunists. 

Not to be a kill-joy on the feel-good story of the year to date, but 'Creedence to the "VO Industry"'?  Highly debatable.

On the one hand, the liberal and bleeding heart in me is really glad the guy has a chance at redemption.  Let's hope he'll stay clean and sober; makes good on supporting his nine(?) children, and goes on to live a good life.

On the other, the devil's advocate in me says, yeah, some guy did get to "jump the queue"- past a long line of equally or more deserving voiceover people- with a good hard luck story.

Seems that possibly to the laymen, it could easily be interpreted to devalue voiceover work: 'hey, looks like literally anyone can do it- all you need is a good (if not somewhat cliched) voice!' 
The Ted Williams story also makes just so much BS about those standard lines: about paying your dues, and the absolute necessity of training; that "being real" is in and the"voice of god", and the announcery radio reads are dead, etc.  After all, from what I have been able to hear so far, Ted Williams has a good set of classic radio pipes, somewhat  mediocre copy interpreting skills; and a killer marketing machine.

I can certainly see how the story, might be good news to that part of the "VO Industry" that makes more and more money off an ever-expanding pool of voiceover hopefulls,  But not necessarily any better for those already struggling to make a living at it.

To be fair, he said he went to school for it and already had worked in the industry before. So it isn't if he didn't have any former training.

I wish Ted all the best.  He has an amazing gift, and has been given another chance.  His voice is powerful, and he will do well if he chooses to.  I was offered a role yesterday for a major TV network's show that wants to do a "skit" based on Ted's story in a comedic style.  They want me (a white guy) to play a Ted like character doing his thing on the side of an LA freeway exit ramp.  God continues to bless me everyday as well.  I'm truly happy for Ted and wish him all the best with his chance.  You never know when your time in the spotlight will show up ---- just be ready to make the most of it.  


Larry Davis

Great thoughts, Larry.  Do the work and be ready when the big break comes.   I bet there are lots of "overnight successes" who would tell us that same thing!  Best of luck to Ted and to all of you!

Hey Zurek,

I posted this in FB earlier today. I have similar thoughts. Please allow me to share.

It's good that we put this whole thing into perspective. I love Ted's story. It's not a hoax. Of course, the media loved it as as a "feel good" story to start off the new year with. I'm happy that it happened, although, I too was getting so many emails I had to turn off the flow for a day or so. It’s brought some new sparkle to what we do. And will serve to perpetuate the power of the spoken word.

Even though to many it seemed like Ted found a short cut to fame and fortune, it’s shown to me once again that everyone must find there own path through the giant MAZE of deterrents and misfortunes. Ted had his training and career in place in the past when he took a left turn somewhere along the way and hit rock bottom. Is it necessary that all of us do this? No...but sometimes it does work. He found a way to cut through his maze. With perseverance, faith and a little luck. We’ve all heard the expression... the harder I work the luckier I become! Ted was homeless, yes, and communicated to passersby with his sign. When they stopped, he showed them what he had... performing for them with those great pipes of his. Until one day someone really noticed him and his unique situation.

My performing background and love of music brought me to Nashville many years ago.
Although I had minor success, (minor to me but not always to others) as a singer/songwriter,
I never achieved what I set out to do. Fulfill my life long dream as a recording artist. That BIG recording deal remained elusive as I was cutting through my MAZE in Nashville's music biz. I got the chance to see things many will never see. I got behind the scenes. Not always a pretty sight either. I’ve seen people like Ted hit the skids and the bottle and drugs. Even highly successful people who couldn’t handle it , turned to drugs and hit the bottom. I ran into road block after road block and it exhausted me like nothing ever had before and I began to burn out. 

Along the way, I discovered voice over work. A way to perform and vocalize in a new and different way. I also found a different kind of MAZE. The one I am currently and successfully, I believe, working my way through. If I’m clever enough maybe I can find a short cut through. Those negative forces are always out there waiting to bring you down.
But only if you let them. I remain positive because of where I’ve been. I have more control now over my own future. We all do! If we just take charge of our own destiny. Yes, everything does happen for a reason. If we understand something about that reason we can use it to build upon. To take the right turn through the MAZE. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger! Because that’s one more road block or hurdle we’ve overcome. Remaining on our own individual paths to success.

So God bless Ted... God bless us all. Ted found his pathway and we’ll find ours. 
Hopefully he can keep it all together. Hopefully we will too.


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