HE WAS on our screens constantly during the '80s and '90s, but these days, former Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens has a very different career.

The 57-year-old, who played Sondra Huxtable's husband Elvin Tibideaux in the hit sitcom, was recently spotted by shopper Karma Lawrence working at a New Jersey branch of the US grocery chain Trader Joe's.

The woman was so surprised by her discovery she snapped a photo of the startled-looking actor wearing a Trader Joe's uniform complete with a name-tag which read "Geoffrey".

Ms Lawrence told the Daily Mail she was surprised to see the former star working at the store, where staff are believed to earn around $US11 ($A15) an hour.

"I used to watch The Cosby Show all the time - it was my favourite show. It was definitely him," Ms Lawrence told the publication.

Many claim the furore surrounding Mr Owens job has been an attempt to ‘shame’ him. Picture: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Many claim the furore surrounding Mr Owens job has been an attempt to ‘shame’ him. Picture: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

"I would have thought after The Cosby Show he would maybe be doing something different.

"It was a shock to see him working there and looking the way he did. It made me feel really bad. I was like, "Wow, all those years of doing the show and you ended up as a cashier.'"

Ms Lawrence's photos quickly went viral, and news of Mr Owens' "$11-an-hour supermarket job" quickly made headlines across the globe.

 

Geoffrey Owens (back, second from right) appeared on the show from 1985 to 1992, alongside now-disgraced star Bill Cosby. Picture: Alamy
Geoffrey Owens (back, second from right) appeared on the show from 1985 to 1992, alongside now-disgraced star Bill Cosby. Picture: Alamy

 

However, the photos have also sparked significant outrage, with many claiming the actor, who has also appeared on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia and That's So Raven, was being publicly "shamed" for taking on a second job to pay the bills.

And soon, a slew of well-known celebrities as well as social media users took to Twitter to defend the father-of-one and his new role.

Many high-profile names shared similar stories of working in unusual jobs after their show business careers ended, including Harry Potter actor Chris Rankin, who posted on Twitter about a kitchen job he took after the popular movies.

Actor and media commentator Melissa Francis also weighed in, posting on Twitter about the low-wage jobs she had worked in after appearing on TV and in films.

 

 

 

Others argued most working actors needed to take on second jobs to pay the bills - and that there was "no shame" in earning an honest living.

 

 

Mr Owens appeared on the show from 1985 to 1992, alongside now-disgraced star Bill Cosby.

He is the son of former United States Congressman Major Robert Owens, and is also a respected theatre actor.


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