Cosby Show Alum Geoffrey Owens Says His Acting Career Has Been Revived After Pic Of Him Working At Trader Joe's Went Viral In 2018
Cosby Show alum Geoffrey Owens says his life has completely changed since a photo of him working at Trader Joe’s in 2018 went viral. He says that Hollywood has “absolutely” welcomed him back after he was shamed for working as a cashier and bagger at the grocery chain.
“The outpouring of love and support, and practical support in the form of employment as well, has been extremely generous and much appreciated,” Owens told Us Weekly . “Tyler [Perry] is leading the way, of course, with that offer of work on the Haves and the Have Nots . Nicki Minaj was very generous and gave me a very generous gift, which I then turned over to the actor’s fund of actor’s equity. I made a donation to them of her generous gifts.”
The 58-year-old added that NCIS: New Orleans also offered him some work. And, in addition to offers, he has also gotten the opportunity to audition for a number of roles which also led to jobs.
The Yale grad - who played Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show for seven seasons - says that “a lot of doors” have opened up for him since Labor Day weekend 2018. That was the weekend a story ran in The Daily Mail with the headline “From learning lines to serving the long line,” along with a pic of Owens bagging groceries at Trader Joe’s in New Jersey.
While he was shamed for working in a grocery store after having a successful television career, there were many people who came to his defense, including Family Ties alum Justine Bateman. The 53-year-old took issue with someone taking Owens’ picture and judging him when he was simply “earning an honest living.”
Owens says that Bateman didn’t just defend him online. She also “reached out” to him through a mutual friend, and she offered “some very specific encouragement.”
Fans might be surprised to find out that Owens loved his job at Trader Joe’s. He called it a great place to work, and said he worked with wonderful people. Owens says he still shops there regularly, and he sees his old friends all of the time.
He also believes he would still be working at the grocery store if the person wouldn’t have taken his pic and posted it online. In addition to acting, Owens is also teaching and coaching other actors in New York.
“Somewhere in the middle of the road of my life, I found myself in the dark world of unemployment and debt,” Owens said at the 2019 SAG Awards . “But instead of switching careers like a sane person, I took a job at a local Trader Joe’s to see if I could hang in there with my career. And, um, it’s actually worked out pretty well. I’m Geoffrey Owens and I am an actor.”