Cosby Show alumnus Geoffrey Owens said his life has changed completely since a photo of him working at Trader Joe’s in 2018 went viral. He says Hollywood “absolutely” welcomed him again after he was ashamed of working as a cashier and bagger in the grocery chain.
“The outpouring of love and support, as well as practical support in the form of employment, has been extremely generous and much appreciated,” Owens told Us Weekly. “Tyler [Perry] leads the way, of course, with this job offer on the Haves and Have Nots. Nicki Minaj was very generous and gave me a very generous gift, which I then gave to the actor’s equity fund. I have given them his generous gifts. “
The 58-year-old added that NCIS: New Orleans had also offered him work. And, in addition to the offers, he also had the opportunity to audition for a number of roles which also led to jobs.
Yale graduate – who has played Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show for seven seasons – says that “many doors” have been open to him since Labor Day weekend 2018. It was the weekend when a story was published in the Daily Mail with the headline “Learning lines serving the long line,” as well as a photo of the Owens grocery bagged at Trader Joe’s in New Jersey.
While he was ashamed of having worked in a grocery store after leading a successful career on television, many people came to his defense, including Justine Bateman, a former Family Ties. The 53-year-old contested that someone took the photo of Owens and judged him when he was “just making an honest living.”
Owens says Bateman didn’t just defend him online. She also “reached out” to him through a mutual friend, and offered “very specific encouragement.”
Fans might be surprised to find out that Owens loved his work at Trader Joe’s. He said it was a great place to work and said he worked with wonderful people. Owens says he still does regular shopping there and sees his old friends all the time.
He also thinks he would still be working at the grocery store if the person hadn’t taken his photo and posted it. In addition to acting, Owens also teaches and coaches other actors in New York.
“Somewhere in the middle of my life’s path, I found myself in the dark world of unemployment and debt,” said Owens at the 2019 SAG Awards. “But instead of changing careers as a healthy person mind, I took a job at a local Joe’s merchant to see if I could stay with my career. And, uh, it worked pretty well. I’m Geoffrey Owens and I’m an actor. “