In a recent interview, actor Geoffrey Owens didn’t pull any punches when he was asked what led to him working at a Trader Joe’s. As many people are aware of, Owens was recently job-shamed on social media for working a “regular” job, instead of acting, which is what he is best known for. His most famous part was that of Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show. Even though the show had been over for years, it lived on in syndication, thanks in no small part to the popularity of its namesake actor, Bill Cosby.
When Cosby got caught up in controversy, and eventually went down for drugging and sexually assaulting a string of women, the Cosby Show became toxic. No network wanted to host it any longer. When that happened, it took his name off the television and stopped his royalties from rolling in, but it also ended the royalties of the actors and actresses who were also on the show according to People. While some have continued in the industry making their own mark, such as Malcolm Jamal Warner, others have had more sporadic work such as Owens, who depended on those royalty checks to help make ends meet.
“Yes, it impacted me financially. At the time that the show was pulled, that did make a difference in our income. That was one of the elements that led to my getting to the place where I said to myself, ‘I have to do something’ and I was thinking, ‘What can I do?’ and the answer ended up being Trader Joe’s, which is actually a wonderful situation for me in many ways. But I got to the point, I just had to do something to support myself and my family.”
— ESSENCE (@Essence) September 10, 2018
Despite Owens never allowing himself to get into the mindset that he was financially set for life on The Cosby Show alone, per Essence, he always continued to work, taking on whatever roles became available. He worked side jobs, taught acting, and did whatever he needed to do to care for his family. While he knew life would throw curves at him, losing Cosby residuals as quickly and massively as he did was not something he was prepared for.
Geoffrey Owens Accepts Offer From Tyler Perry and Will Appear on 10 Episodes https://t.co/7K1Q2F0ZFv
— Yashar Ali ???? (@yashar) September 7, 2018
After the photos of Owens working at Trader Joe’s hit the internet, and support began pouring in from fellow performers and fans, things did get better. His finances even improved as Tyler Perry offered him work on his current project, and Owens accepted. While it may not lead to stable acting work, at least not like he had as Elvin Tibideaux, it got his name out there, and his fans hope more success will come his way.