‘Cosby Show’ actor Geoffrey Owens thankful for support about Trader Joe’s job

SHARE ‘Cosby Show’ actor Geoffrey Owens thankful for support about Trader Joe’s job
race_suntimes_04_24723619_e1536069589195.jpg

Geoffrey Owens starred as Henry Brown in “Race,” at the Goodman Theatre in 2012. | Charles Osgood

TRENTON, N.J. — An actor who was a regular on “The Cosby Show” said he’s thankful for the support he has received since photos of him working at a grocery store showed up on news sites.

Geoffrey Owens said Tuesday on ABC’s “Good Morning America” that he did feel some people were trying to job shame him. But he stressed that “every job is worthwhile and valuable,” adding that what’s important is the honor of the working person and the dignity of the work.

“There is no job that’s better than another,” he said. “It may pay better, it may have better benefits, it may look better on paper. But it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile.”

Owens played Elvin Tibideaux, the husband of Sondra, the eldest daughter of Bill Cosby’s character on the TV show. Photos showed him working the register at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s, “Geoffrey” on his name tag. He said he no longer works there due to the unwanted attention he received.

Owens said people had recognized him in the past and that it was never an issue, noting they were “very, very cool about it.” The 57-year-old actor said he hasn’t had an acting job that lasted more than 10 weeks since leaving “The Cosby Show,” but has taught acting at Yale and worked other jobs related to entertainment.

“I wanted a job where I could have some flexibility” if auditions or other matters came up, Owen said. “I didn’t advertise it, not because I was ashamed of it, but because I didn’t want the acting community to think that I wasn’t pursuing acting anymore.”

The woman who submitted the photos seemed stunned to see someone from such a popular show doing that type of work. But several actors pointed out they have to make a living between gigs and places that offer health insurance are especially attractive.

One such gig for Owens included starring as Henry Brown in the 2012 critically acclaimed Goodman Theatre production of David Mamets “Race.”

Actor and former professional football player Terry Crews tweeted that he swept floors after the NFL and “if need be, I’d do it again.” Actor Blair Underwood tweeted that Owens is “being a man in doing what he needs to do to provide for himself and his family.”

Owens was most recently in an episode of “Elementary” and finished a movie called “Impossible Monsters.”

“No one should feel sorry for me,” he said. “I’ve had a great life, a great career.”

Contributing: Sun-Times staff reporter Miriam Di Nunzio

The Latest
The 1st Congressional District primary to replace the retiring U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Illinois had 17 challengers, while one strong opponent was trying to upend the legendary U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis.
Preckwinkle said Tuesday night she looks “forward to all the good work that lies ahead” as her opponent, Richard Boykin — a former Cook County Board commissioner — conceded the race: “The voters have spoken, and I stand by their decision.”
Ramirez was up 65% to Villegas’ 25%, with more than half of the 551 precincts counted.
As the results came in, Miller’s supporters filled a ballroom at a hotel here for her election-night party, sharing stories about driving voters to the polls — and talking about the heat their candidate has faced in social media since her “white life” gaffe.
Lakendra Porter, 24, was charged with aggravated battery with use of a deadly weapon and reckless conduct, police said.