Geoffrey Owens is back to work, and now he’s celebrating at the Screen Actors Guild Awards.
The former Cosby Show actor went viral last year when a photograph of him bagging groceries at a Trader Joe’s went viral. During Sunday’s SAG Awards, he was seated among his peers for the opening “I’m an actor” segment and received rousing applause as he opened up about the difficulties he’s faced in his career.
“So, somewhere in the middle of the road of my life, I found myself in the dark wood of unemployment and debt. But instead of switching careers like a sane person, I took a job at a local Trader Joe’s to see if I could hang in there with my career,” Owens said from his table. “It’s actually worked quite well. I’m Geoffrey Owens and I’m an actor.”
When ET spoke with the actor following the photo hitting the Internet, he said he was “not ashamed” of having to take on a day job.
“It’s to not be ashamed of work but to be proud of whatever you do, you know?” he said. “So I deliberately brought it today, and I’m wearing it all day just to make a point that, you know, work is not something to be ashamed of, no matter what it is.”
Since then, Nicki Minaj gave Owens $25,000, which he subsequently donated to the Actor’s Fund in memory of his Cosby Show co-star Earle Hyman. Owens was also able to return to acting, booking a guest role on NCIS: New Orleans and a role on Tyler Perry’s OWN drama, The Have and the Have Nots.