What an amazing year Geoffrey Owens has had. The Cosby Show alum was photographed bagging groceries at Trader Joe's, and that unflattering attention was considered "job shaming." The upside of that experience was that it led to Owens landing more TV and film roles. Fast-forward to 2019, and Owens was featured during the "I Am An Actor" segment of last night's 25th Screen Actors Guild Awards. He shared a hopeful message from his own journey:
So somewhere in the middle of the road of my life, I found myself in the dark wood of unemployment and debt. 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, um, it's actually worked out pretty well.
The crowd laughed and started applauding. Through the applause, he raised his voice and said with a smile:
I'm Geoffrey Owens and I am an actor!
Watch the moment play out:
The SAG Awards was actually the perfect time to give Geoffrey Owens a showcase. We're used to hearing about how much money major stars make, but most actors in the Screen Actors Guild are not rich and famous. They balance jobs outside the industry while auditioning for other roles. Owens was a poster child for most SAG actors, and shaming him felt like shaming every hardworking person out there trying to live their dreams but also live practically to support their families.
At the SAG Awards, Geoffrey Owens told People he appreciated all of the love and support:
I just can’t believe it. It’s just so bizarre. I just feel like, ‘What am I doing here?’ I just talked to Glenn Close. It was so great because we worked together years ago. Everybody has just been so kind and so nice. I can’t believe it. I’m in awe.
He was particularly thrilled to meet Patricia Arquette, saying he was so glad she won for the miniseries for Escape at Dannemora.
Geoffrey Owens starred on The Cosby Show as Sondra Huxtable's boyfriend Elvin Tibideaux from 1985 to 1992. Last year, after photos went viral, he said a lot of things contributed to him taking that Trader Joe's job. For one, The Cosby Show reruns were pulled in many places after the allegations about Bill Cosby. As he said during the SAG Awards, he found himself unemployed and in debt over the years, despite still booking occasional roles on shows like Blue Bloods, Elementary, The Blacklist, and Lucifer.
Maybe Hollywood can extend the same kindness to former American Idol Season 1 co-host Brian Dunkleman, who is apparently now working as an Uber driver.