Geoffrey Owens Has Gone From Working At Trader Joe’s To Making Billions
Last August and September, actor Geoffrey Owens became part of the news cycle in an unexpected turn of events. The 58-year-old actor who famously portrayed “Elvin Tibideaux” on The Cosby Show throughout the late 1980s and early ’90s was spotted by a customer at a Trader Joe’s location in Clifton, New Jersey. Owens was there working as a grocery store employee, when the customer photographed him without permission. Those photos made their way to the media, including The Daily Beast and Fox News, who reported on the story, suggesting a fall from grace for the Brooklyn, New Yorker who had also appeared on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and The Secret Life Of The American Teenager in the 2000s.
That narrative created a push-back from acting peers and fans, defending Geoffrey Owens’ work ethic, and condemning those who made light of his circumstance or his willingness to fund a dream in a challenging industry. Owens, who is a husband and father outside of acting, appeared on Good Morning America the first week of September. “The period of devastation was so short because so shortly after that, the responses, my wife and I started to read [them],” he said. “And fortunately the shame part didn’t last very long. It’s amazing.” People, including Tyler Perry, quickly offered the actor casting opportunities for more work in the field of his passion.
Many things have transpired in the last eight months. In January, Owens opened the SAG Awards. “So, somewhere in the middle of the road of my life, I found myself in the dark wood of unemployment and debt,” Owens told the cameras at the televised event for union actors. “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 it’s actually worked out pretty well. I’m Geoffrey Owens, and I am an actor!” The proclamation prompted an eruption of applause from Owens’ peers.
Additionally, Tyler Perry fulfilled his promise. Owens starred on the OWN channel’s The Haves And The Have Nots as well as CBS’ NCIS: New Orleans. Now, as reported following the SAG Awards presentation and powerful declaration, Owens also played a role in Showtime’s high profile show Billions.
In the latest episode (Season 4, Episode 6 titled “Maximum Recreational Depth”), the actor portrays a banker. The role of the well-heeled, suited up money-man is perhaps a laugh in the face of those who job-shamed the actor less than one year ago. Whether that was the intent or not, Owens is living proof of the good fortune that comes with investing in one’s dreams.