Geoffrey Owens

Geoffrey Owens
Geoffrey Louis Owens

(1961-03-18) March 18, 1961 (age 59)
Alma materYale University
Years active1985–present
Spouse(s)Josette (m. 1995)

Geoffrey Louis Owens (born March 18, 1961) is an American actor known for his role as Elvin Tibideaux on The Cosby Show (1985–1992). He is the son of former United States Congressman Major Owens.

Early life and education

Owens was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Ethel, a music and literature teacher, and Major Owens, a librarian who later went on to serve in the New York State Senate and the United States House of Representatives.[1][2] He has two brothers.[1] Owens attended the High School of Performing Arts for a year and graduated cum laude from Yale University in 1983.[3][4]


One of Owen's earliest roles was in a local theater performance at Arcata High School where he played the title role in a performance of Peter Pan. This initial outing was what galvanized him to become an actor later in life.[5]

In 1985, Owens made his television debut on the second season of the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show as Sondra Huxtable's boyfriend Elvin Tibideaux. Tibideaux married Sondra and became a regular character in 1987 and appeared on the series until it ended in 1992.[1][6]

He has appeared as himself on the FX sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In the season 3 episode "The Gang Gets Invincible" he appears at the Philadelphia Eagles' public tryouts as an actor pretending to be Donovan McNabb doing a plug for McDonald's but the gang recognize him as "that guy from The Cosby Show" who played "Sondra's husband ... Alvin [sic]". In the season 7 episode "Frank's Pretty Woman" he plays the same character, this time pretending to be Tiger Woods.[7] Dee, however, recognizes him and calls him out as the guy who pretended to be McNabb at the Eagles' tryouts. He then admits he is not Tiger Woods but then claims to be actor Don Cheadle.

In 2007, Owens guest-starred as Eddie's father in the That's So Raven episode "The Way We Were". He also appeared on the season premiere of NBC's Las Vegas.[citation needed]

In 2008, he appeared alongside Paul Campbell, Andy Griffith, Doris Roberts, Liz Sheridan, Marla Sokoloff and Juliette Jeffers in the romantic comedy Play The Game.[8]

In 2010, he appeared on ABC Family's The Secret Life of the American Teenager as a court-appointed mediator. He also appeared on the ABC show FlashForward in the episode "The Garden of Forking Paths", playing a researcher.[9]

In 2011, Owens portrayed the role of Casca at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in its Free-For-All production of Julius Caesar.[citation needed]

In 2015, he portrayed an obstetrician on the NBC drama series The Slap, in an episode entitled "Ritchie".[citation needed]

In 2017, he portrayed an assistant dean on the FOX drama series Lucifer, in an episode entitled "Deceptive Little Parasite".[10]

In 2018, photos of Owens working in a Trader Joe's were published by The Daily Mail, which many characterized as "job shaming."[11] Owens agreed with the "job shaming" characterization, eventually quitting due to the unwanted attention.[12] The story led producer Tyler Perry to offer Owens a ten-episode role in The Haves and the Have Nots.[13][14] Owens also booked a guest-starring role on NCIS: New Orleans and supporting roles in the films Fatale and Hide and Seek.[15][16][17]

In 2020, he starred in the film Impossible Monsters, where he played a police detective. "I’m usually cast as dads, lawyers, doctors, teachers, and so to play a detective it was really fun," he said.[18]


Owens is the founder and artistic director of The Brooklyn Shakespeare Company. He has taught acting and Shakespeare at Columbia University, Yale, the Adult School of Montclair and Pace University. In addition to developing his own private Shakespeare workshop, he has been a guest teacher at universities, theaters, studios and high schools in the New York metropolitan area. He has also served as a judge for the National Shakespeare Competition semi-finals at Lincoln Center for at least twenty-five years.[19]

Personal life

In 1995, Owens married his wife, Josette. Together they have one son.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Baker, Kathryn (October 22, 1987). "For newest 'Cosby' actor, love was in the script". Akron Beacon Journal. p. C6. Retrieved September 1, 2018 – via Free to read
  2. ^ Bernstein, Adam (October 22, 2013). "Major R. Owens, former congressman, dies at 77". The Washington Post. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Filichia, Peter (October 29, 2010). "'Opus' preview: 'Cosby Show' veteran to perform in Red Bank". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  4. ^ Thompson, Dana (October 16, 2014). "Former Cosby Show star Geoffrey Owens to present Masterclasses at Shorter". Shorter University. Archived from the original on September 2, 2018. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  5. ^ "Geoffrey Owens Talks About Growing Up, The Cosby Show, and Life Now". Retrieved September 11, 2017.[dead link]
  6. ^ "More 'Cosby' regulars". The Republic. August 18, 1987. p. A2. Retrieved September 1, 2018 – via Free to read
  7. ^ Yoshida, Emily (September 15, 2011). "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "Frank's Pretty Woman"". The A.V. Club. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  8. ^ "Cast Bios". Play the Game. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  9. ^ "Geoffrey Owens". TV Guide. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  10. ^ "Scoop: LUCIFER on FOX - Monday, May 8, 2017". May 8, 2017. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  11. ^ Dekoupil, Tony (September 3, 2018). "Stars defend "Cosby Show" actor from "job-shaming" after photos of him bagging groceries go viral". CBS News.
  12. ^ Associated Press. "'Cosby' actor thankful for support about grocery store job - The Boston Globe". Retrieved September 4, 2018.
  13. ^ Capatides, Christina (September 4, 2018). "Tyler Perry just offered former "Cosby Show" star Geoffrey Owens a job". CBS News.
  14. ^ Geoffrey Owens: 'Job-shamed' Cosby Show star lands TV role BBC News. September 7, 2018. Retrieved September 7, 2018.
  15. ^ "Geoffrey Owens Books 'NCIS: New Orleans' Guest Role". Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  16. ^ "Geoffrey Owens to Join Michael Ealy in Noir Thriller 'Fatale' (Exclusive)". Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  17. ^ ‘Hide And Seek’: Former ‘Cosby Show’ Star Geoffrey Owens Joins CJ Entertainment Horror Remake
  18. ^ "Interview: Geoffrey Owens on Auditions, the Trader Joe's Aftermath and His New Film, 'Impossible Monsters'". Daily Actor. Retrieved May 22, 2020.
  19. ^ "Actor/Director/Teacher Geoffrey Owens". Actor/Director/Teacher Geoffrey Owens. Retrieved September 5, 2018.

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