Geoffrey Owens fka The Cosby Show‘s Elvin was “really devastated” when some rando, followed by certain media outlets, sought to shame him for now working at Trader Joe’s in Clifton, N.J. But in the wake of a wave of support from the acting community, he maintains, “No one should feel sorry for me.”
Owens appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America on Tuesday morning after a long holiday weekend in which a photo of him bagging groceries went viral, serving as point-and-laugh fodder for sites ranging from The Daily Mail and something called “HotNewHipHop” to even/of course FoxNews.com. Scores of acting peers promptly rode to his defense, especially on Labor Day, in which they shared their own between-gigs tales via Twitter.
“It’s really overwhelming — in a good way,” Owens said of the response. “When I first saw those pictures… I was really devastated.” But because of the instant and worldwide response, “the shame part didn’t last very long.”
In the past TV season alone, Owens guested on Elementary and The Blacklist. Going back just a bit further, he also has Lucifer, Blue Bloods and several episodes of Divorce on his TV resumé.
Discussing his current job at Trader Joe’s, which he has held for 15 months, Owens said, “I’d been teaching acting, directing for 30-plus years, but it got to a point where it didn’t add up enough. You gotta do what you gotta do.”
Which is by no means a diss at cashier work. Rather, Owens said that while the shaming/support surrounding him is “going to pass,” “I hope what doesn’t pass is people rethinking what it means to work — the honor of the working person and the dignity of work. The idea that some jobs are better than others… that’s not true. Every job is worthwhile.”
And if a fresh batch of acting work now comes his way? Owens notes there has been “some interest” aroused by his strange, new form of celebrity, but “I wouldn’t feel comfortable getting actor jobs from [it]. I want to get a job because I’m the right person for that job.”
Watch his complete GMA interview below: