Geoffrey Owens is flying to Atlanta to shoot 10 episodes of a Tyler Perry show

Geoffrey Owens

As we discussed earlier this week, Geoffrey Owens isn’t ashamed of the fact that he worked at Trader Joe’s for more than a year when his acting gigs dried up. An actor’s life is hard, and only a very small percentage of actors get to be picky about what projects they choose. Owens is best known for his role in The Cosby Show, but he’s worked consistently over the years in film, television and theater. He’s also taught acting classes. After the photos came out of Owens working at Trader Joe’s, the outpouring of support from the acting and artistic community was overwhelming, and Geoffrey ended up on Good Morning America to discuss the positivity that came out of it. And because this man’s karma is so good, he’s now fielding acting-job offers and he’s signed on to work on a Tyler Perry project:

Geoffrey Owens is about to get a hell of a lot of screen time thanks to Tyler Perry — he’s accepted the mega producer’s offer for an acting gig — and it’s a big one! Owens, who starred on “The Cosby Show,” was recently photographed working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s. Geoffrey was shamed by many for the cashier job and Tyler reached out via Twitter, saying, “I’m about to start shooting OWN’s number one drama next week! Come join us!!!”

Sources familiar with the deal tell us joining Tyler is exactly what Geoffrey will do. We’re told he’s going to appear on Perry’s hit, “The Haves and the Have Nots.” Even bigger … it’s not a one shot deal. We’re told he’ll have a recurring role and appear on 10 episodes. The show — on it’s 6th season — shoots in Atlanta, and we’re told Owens will fly there next week to begin filming. As for his salary … that’s unclear, but working one job is always better than two.

[From TMZ]

I’m not sure if a Tyler Perry TV show is any actor’s dream role, but actors do enjoy working on his projects. Perry’s films and TV shows are usually just flat-out soap operas and they’re steady, paying jobs, so why not? And I hope more producers have seen all of this and decide to cast Owens in other roles too. Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj threw herself into the conversation too:

Since the world learned Geoffrey Owens was working at a Trader Joe’s grocery store between acting gigs, the Cosby Show alum has been inundated with support and even offered a job by Tyler Perry. And on Thursday, Nicki Minaj also offered her support to the actor — saying she wants to give him $25,000.

“This man is a whole f—— legend,” the rapper said during her latest episode of Queen Radio on Beats 1. “That man is now getting so many opportunities, I personally want to donate $25,000.”

Minaj also called out Karma Lawrence, the woman who took Owens’ photo at a Trader Joe’s in New Jersey where he was bagging groceries. Calling Lawrence a “stupid f—,” the star accused her of “trying to embarrass this hardworking man.”

[From People]

I mean, if Nicki Minaj wanted to give me $25000, I wouldn’t say no. But to be clear, Geoffrey Owens was never looking for charity. He didn’t send up a GoFundMe account. He did what thousands of other actors do – worked a second non-acting job to support his family. Minaj is right about one thing: Geoffrey Owens is a legend.

Geoffrey Owens

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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51 Responses to “Geoffrey Owens is flying to Atlanta to shoot 10 episodes of a Tyler Perry show”

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  1. abbi says:

    He deserves it, I’m so glad this turned out well for him!

    • Jan90067 says:

      I’m very glad things worked out well for him, he seems like a straight-up guy, no BS about him, very humble. And there is NO shame in honest work to support himself and his family.

      But why does having worked on the Cosby show make him a “legend”? Asking in all honesty…

      • Tiffany says:

        If you have only send him on The Cosby Show, that’s on you.

      • Jan90067 says:

        Wow, that’s pretty nasty! I just asked an honest question: what makes him a legend?

        Please @Tiffany, feel free to not respond to anything I write again.

      • Aud says:

        I was wondering the same thing.

      • Clearedmemory says:

        I don’t really think he’s being called a legend because of his acting, but because of his character (work ethic, humility). But why even fixate on that?

      • kwallio says:

        Its not just the Cosby show, its being a working actor for what, 3 decades. There’s a documentary, called “That guy who was in that thing” about actors who do bit parts and are sort of at the edges of the acting world and it shows that sometimes acting jobs don’t that fast. He’s a survivor and has done loads of non-acting jobs in entertainment like teaching and stage. He IS a legend.

      • kwallio says:

        Should be don’t come that fast above.

  2. Doodle says:

    I watched two interviews with him after this story broke – class act all the way. So happy he got an acting job out of this, but honestly was impressed with his attitude in both interviews. There is no job that should be beneath anybody. Work is work. This guy is gold.

    • Anners says:

      Right?! I cannot wrap my head around the fact that this man was being dragged for working at Trader Joes…like it’s a bad thing?! Like we don’t need/want people to work there? Work is work, and all hard, honest* work should be respected.

      *honest work – where you don’t take advantage of someone else’s weaknesses or lack of understanding to enrich yourself

    • FhMom says:

      He was wonderful in those interviews, and I wish him the best. Also, I hadn’t noticed how really good he looks, but he’s a cutie.

    • Eleonor says:

      I am happy for him.
      What I have really appreciated in all this story is that he hasn’t lived on the “has been train”, he has moved on from the show that made him famous, he has worked steadily without cringing on that hit, that says a lot.

  3. Jerusha says:

    Working on a Tyler Perry TV show might lead to working on a Tyler Perry movie and they make boatloads of money, so good.

  4. lolamd says:

    Sorry I didn’t really pay attention to this when it first came out but the person who took his pic did she really mean to shame him?

    • C-Shell says:

      She apologized early on, I think she just didn’t engage her brain. She saw a celebrity in the course of her everyday life, doing everyday work, took his pic and posted it on social media. I don’t think she imagined the ramifications, but who knows?

    • abbi says:

      I read somewhere that she said she didn’t intend to shame him, but I don’t see how she had any good intentions with taking his pic? And then once the news channels caught on, they ran with it.

    • Fanny says:

      She sneaked a picture of him on her phone and sold it directly to The Daily Mail. She did not post it on social media. She also gave The Daily Mail quotes about how bloated and tired and sad she thought he looked. It takes a whole lot of savvy to do something like that.

      She’s whining now because she was not expecting a personal backlash against her for what she did.

      • Esmom says:

        Yeah, I feel like it was obvious she thought it was a “gotcha” moment that she thought other people would take similar glee in. So gross.

        I’m glad he’s getting new projects. And too bad for Trader Joe’s, losing a good employee.

      • Lilly says:

        Yes, she may have apologized, but she was shopping the photo out. I believe in forgiveness (expect for all the upcoming trials in the administration), but the facts are she wanted money.

      • tealily says:

        Ooo, I didn’t hear this whole back story. I had just heard about it getting picked up by Fox News. What an awful person.

    • Evie says:

      I don’t think the woman and her partner specifically meant to “shame” him as such. It seemed like they were surprised and excited when they recognized him and then took the picture. However, I don’t think they’re completely innocent, either. They sold the pictures and their story to the UK Daily Mail which advertises that that pay for stories, pictures and videos. These women HAD to have known that the picture of Geoffrey Owens working as a cashier at Trader Joe’s was going to result in less than flattering publicity for him.

      I’m happy this has had a positive outcome. Owens never stopped working as an actor, producer or teacher. He’s worked steadily in small supporting roles and guest spots. I do recall seeing him in an episode of Showtime’s “The Affair” a couple of years ago. Enormous respect to him for supplementing his acting work with honest everyday work!

  5. Lala11_7 says:

    Working for Tyler is a GREAT gig…he’s got several shows on television…he’s always making movies….he has his own studio where other movie companies also film (Marvel, etc.)…and if he likes you…he will KEEP you working! I’m happy for him…it would be GREAT to remember him as someone OTHER than Elvin on the —— Show…because that character irked my very soul!

  6. Indiana Joanna says:

    He was superb with his interview with Robin Roberts. So dignified while also showing he had great self confidence.l and a terrific sense of humor. He wore his alumni Yale baseball cap and his Trader Joe name tag. He also said he didn’t want to get gigs because of this story but open to auditions. Sooooo happy for him.

    • Dee Kay says:

      I didn’t see the interview but the idea that he wore his Yale cap and Trader Joe’s badge on it makes me smile and makes me a fan of his. Humor, class, and grace as people were trying to shame him.

  7. grabbyhands says:

    To be clear, Nicki Minaj doesn’t want to give this guy money (which he wasn’t asking for) to help, she wants to insert herself into his story for attention to her. God, she’s trashy.

    • Ann says:

      I think I’m about done with Nicki. She made a song with that 69 rapper (I’m not looking up that scum bag’s name to spell it correctly) who basically made child porn and has defended her pedophile brother. I think she’s really talented but I’ve soured on her so much. She’s absolutely doing this for publicity because people are cooling on her. I’m someone who could really use 25k but I wouldn’t take it from Nicki Minaj.

  8. Loopy says:

    Nicki is just always looking for a way to insert herself. She could have done it privately and it’s not like he even asked.

  9. TQ says:

    Awesome! Am so glad the Tyler Perry show worked out and proved to be a substantial role. I have nothing but respect for Geoffrey.

  10. Other Renee says:

    I am really delighted that this turned out the way it has. Yes, I believe the woman meant to shame the poor guy. But he retained his dignity by showing he was proud of working at Trader Joe’s (my favorite food store) and earning an honest living. Good for him!!

  11. Abby says:

    This whole story makes me sad. I’m happy he got a gig with Tyler Perry from the debacle. I can’t understand why anyone would trash someone for working at a job. Would they rather he be on welfare? I mean honestly, what’s a man to do if his acting is not paying the bills?

    I also wonder if he’s not getting residuals from The Cosby Show because the shows not airing because Bill Cosby is a terrible person. Perhaps that paycheck is gone, meaning he needs a job and that’s not his fault!

    People are awful sometimes.

    • SamC says:

      Busy Phillips was talking about residuals on her IG stories yesterday. He wasn’t a major character or on for the run of the series so even when he got residual checks they probably weren’t all that much.

    • Esmom says:

      The only explanation is that some people just take pleasure in seeing someone famous or successful lose their status or wealth because of their own insecurities or resentments. Trump is a perfect example of someone who loves to point out when someone is “failing.” It’s pretty pathetic and I’m glad she was shamed for it.

    • paddingtonjr says:

      There are a few stations still showing The Cosby Show, which does surprise me. However, new episodes haven’t been produced for more than 25 years and Geoffrey was a minor part of a fairly large regular cast. I would assume that Cosby and Phylicia got a higher percentage of the acting residuals with the “children” getting progressively less since they had less experience and potentially longer working lives. The residuals aren’t close to what he would have been making on a weekly basis and, although he has been working regularly as an actor and teacher, the jobs since probably aren’t steady and/or comparable to being a regular on a hit show.

  12. paddingtonjr says:

    I’m so happy for him! Tyler Perry’s movies and tv shows make a lot of money and have a built-in audience which is similar to that of The Cosby Show. I think Keisha Knight-Pulliam has worked with Tyler Perry on a movie or two and has also appeared in at least one of his shows.

    I’m not sure if I would call Geoffrey Owens a “legend”, but he is a good role model. He is a visible reminder that everyone has to make tough choices and do what they need to do to provide while pursuing their dreams and passions. There is nothing wrong or menial about any jobs and you never know anyone’s circumstances. Geoffrey has handled this situation with a great sense of humor and self-confidence and I wish him continued success.

    • C says:

      I think calling him a legend is hyperbole, but saying he’s part of a legendary series is not. Bill Cosby can go eff himself, but you cannot deny the importance of the show. I miss it so much and hate that it’s been tainted by Cosby because it is really a special part of pop culture.

    • jwoolman says:

      I thought he was good as the ever-clueless but sweet Elvin on the Cosby Show. I don’t think Perry would have hired him out of charity – he must have done well at an audition unless Perry remembered him well enough from Cosby. He was on quite a few episodes actually.

      Love the Trader Joe connection. Actors do take other jobs in between acting gigs, so I don’t see why this is a big deal. Working at Trader Joe’s sounds like more fun than a waiter job.

  13. Loopy says:

    Plus not everyone gets Seinfeld or Friends type of residuals.

  14. TaniaOG says:

    Good for him. Well deserved.

  15. Happy21 says:

    Good for him! I wish him all the success he so deserves.
    That being said, Nicky Minaji is an a**hole. Buddy wasn’t looking to be a charity case. He would have been happy working at Trader Joes if some meddling cow hadn’t thought it a good idea to post a photo of him working there, He doesn’t need handouts. I’ve never been a Minaj fan but now I dislike her immensely.

    • Kath says:

      I agree. He’s a proud man with serious credentials working to support his family, not a charity case. He’s not looking for “donations”, and the way Nicki suggested it makes me dislike her intensely.

      What WAS helpful was all the successful actors (and a professor or too) saying I did x and y to earn a living and was proud of doing so. People like Terry Crews, Justine Bateman etc. were great in their responses.

  16. ChillyWilly says:

    Nicki Minaj is repugnant inside and out. Can’t stand her. Anyways, yay Elvin! Nothing wrong with earning an honest living.

  17. tealily says:

    The Nicki Minaj offer is nice, but it sounds like exactly the kind of thing Owens said he DIDN’T want.

  18. Charfromdarock says:

    It is great to see someone who seems so genuinely nice end up with a “win” from someone else’s nastiness.

  19. Tourmaline says:

    I was re-watching season 1 of The Affair on Showtime and he was in an episode of that. He is handling this whole thing beautifully and I hope he gets many more chances to act.

  20. Jordana says:

    I loved his character on The Divorce.

  21. HeyThere! says:

    I get mad thinking anyone would belittle anybody for working a honest job to support their family!!! He is smart. He has a backup plan. Everyone should have something to put some extra money in there pockets. I come from generations of hard working, low income families. I’m firmly middle class now but the hustle and the work never ends. You save save save that money. That’s what I was taught. Hell my grandfather was the youngest of ten kids and didn’t get an education past 6th grade. He had to help on the family farm. Sun up to sun down everyday. He went on to work and saved every penny. He now buys new cars with cash, and that’s how I was raised to. People forget how to work and save that money. Work hard, work honest, save, invest!

  22. Grey says:

    “There’s no shame in working a normal job, so let’s be happy that he was given an ACTING job again, so he doesn’t have to work that shitty job anymore! And donate some money because obviously that job is so shitty!”

    • jwoolman says:

      Well, he obviously enjoys acting, since he keeps auditioning and has done quite a few small roles and has also taught. So it’s nice that more opportunities have popped up for doing acting roles.

      He probably never thought working at Trader Joe’s was a shitty job. If he’s an extroverted, sociable type, it was probably an enjoyable job. I’m assuming he had enough flexibility in scheduling to go to auditions and do small roles. That’s what actors usually do – they get decent paying but flexible jobs to accommodate the intermittent acting side of their lives.