When it rains, it pours and for former Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens, he is inundated with acting opportunities after being shamed for bagging groceries for Trader Joe’s. The latest gig he’ll add to his extensive acting resume is now a guest-starring role on NCIS: New Orleans.
According to the official role description via Deadline, Owens will play “Commander Adams, an old and valued friend who Pride (Scott Bakula) goes to for both medical and spiritual advice. Still emotionally reeling following his brush with death in the season finale/season premiere, Pride consults Adams about what could be causing his current symptoms and what his next course of action should be.” The episode is expected to air in late October.
“For Commander Adams, we needed someone with compassion, competence and heart. … That’s Geoffrey in a nutshell,” said NCIS: New Orleans executive producer Christopher Silber. “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.”
All of renewed attention had an overwhelmingly positive impact on Owens. When the mean girl-like headlines came out, a swell of support for Owens came from fans and Hollywood elites. One such person was Tyler Perry who offered Owens a gig on OWN’s The Have and Have Nots.
According to TMZ, Owens has accepted a 10-episode role on the show.
Owens opened up to PEOPLE and explained that the sex scandal surrounding 81-year-old Bill Cosby who was found guilty on rape charges, did personally hurt him. Royalty checks were stopped as a result of the Cosby Show being pulled from syndication, he said.
“Yes, it impacted me financially,” he said.
“At the time that the show was pulled, that did make a difference in our income. That was one of the elements that led to my getting to the place where I said to myself, ”I have to do something” and I was thinking, ”What can I do?” and the answer ended up being Trader Joe’s, which is actually a wonderful situation for me in many ways. But I got to the point, I just had to do something to support myself and my family.”
Owens said the ordeal of a photo being taken of him by a shopper Karma Lawrence, left him feeling humiliated.
“From the time that I heard that the article might be done to the time it came out, I tried to envision the worst 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.”
Owens who played Elvin Tibideaux from 1985 to 1992, said although he knew he wasn’t “set for life” on the Cosy show checks, he didn’t think the well would run dry as fast as it did.
“I didn’t think of it either way. I was single at the time, no family, and The Cosby Show paid me some fairly decent money for a single guy who never even expected to be on TV and was just happy to be doing theater. I felt like I had plenty of money, but set for life, no. But I was fine.”
He adds: “I always expected that one way or another I would work and make a living. Whether it was teaching, directing, acting, little job here and little job there, then I’d patch it together. I didn’t forsee working at a place like Trader Joe’s, as great as that place is. I didn’t foresee going out of the business for work, but I thought that within the business, I would patch together a modest living, at least enough to get by.
“The funny thing is, I never go too long without booking something, which is not a surprise, the only issue is, the things that I book last one day or two days at the most,” he says.
“I’ll book something for one day but then not work three or four months.”
But there was a rainbow at the end of all the embarrassment he endured.
“No, I wouldn’t [change my life],” he adds.
Acting is “my calling. I’m going to keep pursuing it. I’m going to persevere. And even if that means, that eventually when all this hoopla dies down, I might need to take another job outside of the business. I’m still willing to do that.”