By Ashton Horne
Film director and actor Tyler Perry offered former "Cosby Show" actor Geoffrey Owens a job on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
The 57-year-old actor was recently spotted bagging groceries at a Trader Joe's chain in Clifton, New Jersey. Pictures of Owens went viral sending the internet into a frenzy.
Owens played Elvin, the son-in-law of Bill Cosby. He first debuted in the second season in 1985. He became a recurring character and remained with the show until it ended in 1992.
Perry took to Twitter to say:
The number one drama Perry is talking about is his "The Haves and Have Nots."
Owens appeared on "Good Morning America" yesterday. He went on to explain working at Trader Joe's. He said to anchor Robin Roberts:
“I’d been teaching, acting, directing for 30+ years, but it got to a point where it just didn’t add up enough and you gotta do what you got to do," he shared, adding the job offered "flexibility," so he could "try to stay in the business.
"I didn’t advertise that I was at Trader Joe’s," he added, "not that I was ashamed of it, but because I didn’t want the entertainment community to kind of decide, 'Well, he's doing that; he’s not pursuing acting anymore.' I felt like I had to be careful about that."
A period of shaming occurred for Owens. That period was brief as the support started to pour in. Celebrities Terry Crews, Blair Underwood, and Pamela Adlon were a few to express their support.
"I was really devastated, but the period of devastation was so short, because so shortly after that, the responses – my wife and I started to read these responses from literally all over the world of support and so, fortunately, the shame part didn’t last very long," he said.
The question now is will Owens accept the offer from Tyler Perry. He has been at Trader Joe's for 15 months after being unable to make ends meet. Stability has not been his friend and he has been in between various jobs. He touched briefly on his feelings about acting jobs since going viral.
"I wouldn’t feel comfortable getting acting jobs from this event," he said. "I wouldn't mind getting auditions, I don't mind if people call me in to try out for things, due to what's happened, but I actually wouldn't feel comfortable (with) someone giving me a job because this happened. I want to get a job because I'm the right person for that job."
"This business of my being this 'Cosby' guy who got shamed for working at Trader Joe's, that’s going to pass. ... But I hope what doesn’t pass is this idea ... this rethinking about what it means to work, the honor of the working person and the dignity of work," he said. "And, I hope that this period that we're in now, where we have a heightened sensitivity about that and a re-evaluation of what it means to work, and a re-evaluation of the idea that some jobs are better than others, because that’s actually not true.
"There is no job that's better than another job," he continued. "It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper, but actually it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable, and if we have a kind of a rethinking about that because of what’s happened to me, that would be great. But no one should feel sorry for me, either from a positive or a negative perspective. I’ve had a great life, I've had a great career, and I’ve had a career that most actors would die for."
Either way, Owens has found peace in what he does and is owning his life.