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 at a grocery store showed up on news sites.
Photos of Geoffrey Owens working at a cash register at a Trader Joes store in New Jersey were published this week, prompting fellow actors to rush to their colleague’s defence.
Filmmaker Tyler Perry has even offered Owens work on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
Tyler Perry tweet: #GeoffreyOwens I’m about to start shootings OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!! I have so much respect for people who hustle between gigs. The measure of a true artist.
Owens said on US network ABC’s Good Morning America show 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,” he said on Tuesday (local time).
“It may pay better, it may have better benefits, it may look better on paper. But it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile.”
Mr Owens played Elvin Tibideaux, the husband of Sondra, the eldest daughter of Bill Cosby’s character on the television show.
Photos showed him working the register at a New Jersey Trader Joe’s, with “Geoffrey” on his name tag. He said he no longer worked there due to the unwanted attention he received.
Mr Owens said people had recognised 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 hadn’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,” Owen said, explaining his need to be available for auditions.
“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.”
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 offered health insurance were especially attractive.
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 was “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.
“No one should feel sorry for me,” he said. “I’ve had a great life, a great career.”