Cosby actor thankful for support after he was spotted working at grocery store

An actor who was a regular on The Cosby Show says he's thankful for the support he has received since photos of him working a regular job at a New Jersey grocery store showed up on news sites.

Geoffrey Owens says 'every job is worthwhile and valuable'

Geoffrey Owens told ABC's Good Morning America that he did feel some people were trying to job shame him. But he stressed that 'every job is worthwhile and valuable.' (Peter Kramer/Associated Press)

An actor who was a regular on The Cosby Show says he's thankful for the support he has received since photos of him working a regular job at a grocery store in Clifton, N.J., showed up on news sites.

Geoffrey Owens said Tuesday on ABC's Good Morning America that he did feel some people were trying to job shame him. But he stressed that "every job is worthwhile and valuable," adding that what's important is the honour of the working person and the dignity of the work.

"There is no job that's better than another," Owens said. "It may pay better. It may have better benefits. It may look better on paper. But it's not better. Every job is worthwhile."

Owens played Elvin Tibideaux, the husband of the eldest daughter of Bill Cosby's character on the TV show. The photos showed Owens at a register scanning items at a New Jersey Trader Joe's complete with a "Geoffrey" name tag, but he no longer works there due to the unwanted attention he received.

Owens said people had recognized him in the past and that it was never an issue, noting they were "very, very cool about it." The 57-year-old actor said he hasn't had an acting job that lasted more than 10 weeks since leaving The Cosby Show, but has taught acting at Yale and worked other jobs related to entertainment.

"I wanted a job where I could have some flexibility" if auditions or other matters came up, Owen said. "I didn't advertise it, not because I was ashamed of it, but because I didn't want the acting community to think that I wasn't pursuing acting anymore."

Other actors with day jobs

The woman who submitted the photos seemed stunned to see someone from such a popular show doing that type of work. But several actors pointed out they have to make a living between gigs and places that offer health insurance are especially attractive.

After the photos went viral, a legion of social media users and industry workers jumped to the actor's defence, with some tweeting their own personal stories about juggling multiple jobs during their careers with #ActorsWithDayJobs.

Arwen Humphreys, who plays recurring character Margaret Brackenreid in the Canadian drama series Murdoch Mysteries, says she has worked on-and-off as a server in Toronto throughout the entire run of the show, which was renewed for a twelfth season in March.

Actor and former professional football player Terry Crews tweeted that he swept floors after the NFL and "if need be, I'd do it again." Actor Blair Underwood tweeted that Owens is "being a man in doing what he needs to do to provide for himself and his family."

Owens was most recently in an episode of Elementary and finished a movie called Impossible Monsters.

With files from The Canadian Press