Former “Cosby Show” actor Geoffrey Owens responded to headlines after a photo of him working at a grocery store went viral.
Owens appeared on “Good Morning America” Tuesday, saying he “was really devastated” after a picture circulated of him bagging groceries at Trader Joe’s. Celebrities, including Terry Crews, Judd Apatow, and Pamela Adlon, quickly came to Owens’ defense on social media.
“The period of devastation was really short, because so shortly after that, my wife and I started to read these responses from literally all over the world of support,” said Owens, who wore his Trader Joe’s name tag during the segment. “So fortunately the shame part didn’t last very long.”
He added, “I feel like I’m more of a celebrity now than I’ve ever been.”
On “The Cosby Show,” Owens played Elvin Tibideaux, the son-in-law of Cliff (Bill Cosby) and Claire Huxtable (Phylicia Rashad), and has since appeared on screen in shows such as “The Affair,” “Divorce,” and “Elementary.”
However, since his stint on “The Cosby Show” 26 years ago, Owens said teaching acting classes and finding small roles wasn’t making ends meet. He started working at Trader Joe’s because the hours were flexible enough to go out on auditions and take more acting jobs. Owens worked at the supermarket for 15 months before the photo appeared online, but it wasn’t until the recent photo went viral that he received such a large amount of attention.
“There is no job that is better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper,” Owens said. “But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable, and if we have a rethinking about that because of what has happened to me, that would be great.”
He concluded, ““No one should feel sorry for me. I’ve had a great life. I’ve had a great career. I’ve had a career that most actors would die for. So no one has to feel sorry for me. I’m doing fine!”