The Former Cosby Show Star Who Now Works At Trader Joe's

One of the former stars of The Cosby Show has been spotted working at the grocery chain Trader Joe's in New Jersey.

Radar Online reports that Geoffrey Owens, who once played the character Elvin Tibideaux, was seen earning a living as a cashier at a Trader Joe's in Clifton, N.J. According to the publication, Owens, whom they called a "starving artist," probably makes about $11 an hour.

So, just how did Radar recognize the 57-year-old actor who has been out of the spotlight for so long? Well, for starters, Owens was wearing a name tag. And shoppers often reportedly identify him from his time on the once-beloved NBC sitcom. "They come up and say they remember him from their childhoods," Owens' mother, Ethel, told Radar.

Owens had previously starred on The Cosby Show from 1985 to 1992, portraying the husband of Sabrina Le Beauf's Sondra Huxtable and the son-in-law of Bill Cosby's Cliff Huxtable. After the series ended, he continued to work in Hollywood, but he was never able to snag a regular gig like his role as Elvin. Discussing her son's trying career in the entertainment business, Owens' mother, with whom he lives in a two-floor home in Montclair, N.J., said, "He was the star of the show, but they forgot about him after it went off the air!"

According to his IMDb page, Owens appeared in the NBC comedy Built to Last as Robert Watkins for eight episodes in 1997 and in the HBO dramedy Divorce as the character Gerald for three episodes in 2016. Other than those multi-episode roles, he's only secured small bit parts in other projects like Boston Legal, Medium, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

Unfortunately, based on one Trader Joe's shopper's experience, Owens doesn't seem to be too cheerful these days. "He looked [...] unhappy,"  a woman named Karma Lawrence shared with Radar, though she noted that he was polite during their interaction. 

Lawrence also admitted to feeling upset that Owens was working at the grocery store chain when he has so much talent as an actor. "It made me feel really bad. I was like, 'Wow! All those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier,'" she said. She added, "I would have thought after The Cosby Show he would maybe be doing something different."

Owens didn't sound too thrilled that Radar had been looking into his current whereabouts, as the gossip rag reported that he'd hung up on them when they called to talk about his Trader Joe's job. However, he did phone Radar the next day to inform them of his latest acting gigs, sharing that he's been teaching a Shakespearean workshop in New York City.

We imagine that money might be tighter than ever before for Owens, as he likely doesn't receive much money from The Cosby Show anymore. As Page Six reported in April 2018, re-runs of the series were pulled from airing on Bounce TV after the show's star, comedian Bill Cosby, was found guilty of "aggravated indecent assault" against former Temple University employee Andrea Constand.

Still, it's odd that Owens would resort to bagging groceries for extra cash. He does have a degree from Yale University, after all. Maybe he just needs a flexible job to earn some money on the side while he's in between acting gigs. As implied by his biography on the website for the off-Broadway theater company Primary Stages, Owens has largely focused on taking to the stage since his Cosby days, performing in plays like Romeo and Juliet and David Mamet's Race. Owens has also tried his hand at directing, working on plays like King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, and The Taming of the Shrew.

Beyond his acting roles, he's also held down teaching jobs, molding the minds everywhere from Yale and Columbia to Bergen County Community College and Montclair High School.

Hopefully, Owens will find a cushier gig than cashing out shoppers sometime soon. His resumé definitely warrants it.