Posted: September 07, 2018

Geoffrey Owens to appear on Tyler Perry's 'The Haves and the Have Nots'

Actor Geoffrey Owens has reportedly accepted Tyler Perry's offer to appear in his OWN series,
Larry Busacca/Getty Images, Leon Bennett/Getty Images
Actor Geoffrey Owens has reportedly accepted Tyler Perry's offer to appear in his OWN series, "The Haves and the Have Nots." (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images, Leon Bennett/Getty Images)

By Kelcie Willis, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

Geoffrey Owens, the former “Cosby Show” actor who was shamed for working at Trader Joe’s as a cashier between acting jobs, now has a recurring role on a Tyler Perry show.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Owens accepted Perry’s offer -- which Perry made public in a Sept. 4 tweet after Owens’ story went viral -- for a role on his show “The Haves and the Have Nots.” 

Owens told “Entertainment Tonight” he was encouraged by the offer.

“That was kind of cool,” he said. “I mean, that kind of sounded like he was saying, ‘Come work with me.’ I’m so, like, skeptical. Like, really? Are you actually saying come work with me? Because we’ve never worked together before. So that’s a very, very generous thing for him to say. And we’ll see what happens with that. But that’s encouraging.”

>> Read more trending news 

Now, the actor will join the top drama on OWN with a 10-episode recurring role. 

Owens, 57, who played Sondra Huxtable’s husband Elvin Tibideaux  on “The Cosby Show” from 1985 to 1992, was photographed by a customer while working at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s. The photos were posted by Daily Mail.

Owens told People he got a call before the story was published by the British tabloid outlet. He said the photos were hurtful and embarrassing.

“It really hurt,” Owens said. “I felt really humiliated. From the time that I heard that the article might be done to the time it came out, I tried to envision the worse case scenario just to prepare myself and then it was just a little bit worse. If that was possible. They went out of their way to find the very worst picture of me, in the worst shirt and the worst posture. The words they used to describe me were so demeaning. It hurt.”

Related: Geoffrey Owens, ‘The Cosby Show’ actor offered acting gig after being seen working at Trader Joe’s

Owens said he immediately thought of his only child, his son, when he first saw the story. 

“My wife and I were together when we saw it,” Owens said. “It made me think of my son. I texted my son and warned him about the story breaking. I actually apologized to him for embarrassing him, because I knew that he’s in school away from us. I knew his classmates would see it and he’d be humiliated and embarrassed. I apologized to him.”

“Even before the wave of support rolled in within an hour or two, he sent me a beautiful text back about how proud he was of me. I cried, I just broke down. He felt the opposite of embarrassment. He was so proud that I had taken the job. It was beautiful.

“With my wife’s support and my son’s reactions, all before the counter-reaction came in, I felt very supported and loved. Then, the encouragement from all over the world started to come in and that was unbelievable and overwhelming.”

CNN reported that Owens has since resigned from his Trader Joe’s job, which he said he had to make ends meet and support his family in between acting gigs, which in the past have included parts on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” “That’s So Raven,” “The Secret Life of the American Teenager,” “Bluebloods,” “Divorce” on HBO and "Lucifer.” He’d been working at the grocery store for 15 months.

On top of the new acting gig, Nicki Minaj has said she will donate $25,000 to Owens, CNN reported.

“I hope he doesn't take it the wrong way,” she said on her Queen Radio show on Beats 1 Wednesday. “I just want to help him in any way I can.”


Geoffrey Owens, ‘The Cosby Show’ actor offered acting gig after being seen working at Trader Joe’s

Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Geoffrey Owens, ‘The Cosby Show’ actor offered acting gig after being seen working at Trader Joe’s

Geoffrey Owens did what he needed to do to support his wife and two children. But that didn’t stop Fox News and other media outlets from ridiculing him for working at New Jersey Trader Joe’s between acting gigs. 

Owens said the job not only allowed him to have a steady paycheck, but gave him the flexibility to audition, The Grio reported.

He told “Good Morning America” Tuesday that he’d been working there for 15 months and that people did recognize him.

The spotlight cast by the news outlets backfired, with other actors supporting Owens, who played Elvin on “The Cosby Show,” by sharing the side jobs they had to take to make ends meet, even while working on a hit television show. 

Patricia Heaton, who starred on “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “The Middle,”  said she was summarizing depositions to pay rent while she was on “Thirtysomething.”

>> Read more trending news 

Terry Crews, who left an NFL career, swept floors.

Luis Guzman shared was a social worker on the Lower East Side in New York City.

Chris Rankin, who played Percy Weasley in the Harry Potter series of films, said he worked in a kitchen after the films ended.

Still others shared what they do between acting jobs.

Tyler Perry, after the story started trending, offered Owens a new job on a show for OWN, The Grio reported

Trader Joe’s job isn’t the only one Owens has held since his days on “The Cosby Show” ended. He also worked at Yale, teaching acting classes, according to The Grio, as well as, being featured on recent shows of “Elementary,” “The Blacklist” and “Lucifer.”

Owens appeared on “Good Morning America” to talk about the story and how so many people reached out, saying that it has been overwhelming.

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