Geoffrey Owens is further dishing on his turn as a bagger at Trader Joe’s and according to him, the rape scandal involving Bill Cosby contributed to the former “Cosby Show” actor needing to take the grocery job.
Owens had been able to rely on royalties from the iconic 1980s sitcom’s reruns for years, but when Cosby’s scandal erupted, the show was pulled from syndication and Owen’s income suffered.
“Yes, it impacted me financially,” Owens told People magazine Monday, Sept. 10. “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.”
Still, the actor who played Sondra Huxtable’s boyfriend Elvin Tibideaux from 1985-1992 knew the ‘Cosby’ income didn’t have him “set for life.” However, he said the sitcom “paid me some fairly decent money for a single guy who never even expected to be on TV and was just happy to be doing theater. I felt like I had plenty of money, but set for life, no. But I was fine.”
Earlier this month, photos surfaced of Owens working at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s. The images were initially met with shame before the tide turned and fans and celebrities alike stood up for him making an honest living. Still, the attention led Owens to leave the position he’d held for 15 months.
Owens hasn’t been completely out of the spotlight since ‘Cosby’ ended it’s run, however. He’s had appearances on such shows as Fox’s “Lucifer” and NBC’s “The Blacklist” in 2017 and this year Owens played in an episode of CBS’s “Elementary.”
“The funny thing is, I never go too long without booking something, which is not a surprise, the only issue is, the things that I book last one day or two days at the most,” he said. “I’ll book something for one day but then not work three or four months.”
The actor-director said he loves what he does and will always pursue it — even if that means he’ll have to take another Trader Joe’s-like job down the line.
“I’m still willing to do that.”
But things are currently looking up for Owens as Tyler Perry offered him the chance to star on his OWN drama “The Haves and the Have Nots.” Owens reportedly will appear in 10 episodes of the series and he’s also been contacted by “Dancing with the Stars.”