'Cosby Show' star Geoffrey Owens scores 'NCIS' role after 'job shaming' row

Ben Arnold
Geoffrey Owens (Credit: Rex)

From packing groceries to a new role on TV, ex-Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens has landed on his feet after being snapped packing groceries for a supermarket chain last month.

Owens, who played Cliff Huxtable’s son-in-law Elvin on the show, was working in a branch of Trader Joes in New Jersey, when a customer took a picture of him and sent it to the newspapers.

The shopper said that she ‘felt really bad’ that the actor had ‘ended up as a cashier’, but the backlash on social media was swift, with the outlets running the story accused of ‘job shaming’.

But he’s now booked a new gig as a guest star on NCIS: New Orleans, reports Entertainment Weekly.

He’ll play a character called Commander Adams, an old friend of Scott Bakula’s Special Agent Dwayne Pride from whom he seeks advice.

(Credit: NBC)

The show’s exec producer Christopher Silber said of the role: “For Commander Adams, we needed someone with compassion, competence, and heart. That’s Geoffrey in a nutshell.

“An accomplished actor who seemed like the perfect fit to add to our extended repertory company. We’re lucky to have him on the show.”

After the story of Owens working at at the store broke, scores of actors came to his defence, tweeting their support.

He later told CNBC that people should ‘not feel sorry’ for him.

“I got to a point where I’d been teaching, acting, directing for 30-plus 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 said.

“I didn’t advertise that I was at Trader Joe’s, 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.”

“There is no job that’s better than another job,” he added. “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.”

It’s the second job he’s booked in recent weeks, with Tyler Perry also inviting him to co-star in 10 episodes of his series The Haves And Have Nots, which is set to film its sixth series in Atlanta.

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