Tony Shalhoub is an American actor best known as the star and executive producer of the television series Monk, in which he plays an obsessive-compulsive detective who is often called on by the San Francisco Police Department to solve crimes no one else can.
Before he played Adrian Monk, he was also well known for his role as the Italian cabdriver, Antonio Scarpacci, on the television series Wings, from 1991-1997.
Shalhoub was born Anthony Marcus Shalhoub in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where he was raised.
His father, Joe Shalhoub, emigrated from Lebanon to the United States as an orphan at the age of ten. He later married Shalhoub's mother, Helen, a second-generation Lebanese-American, and founded a family company from the humble start of one grocery store in the center of Green Bay.
His family were Maronite Christians, some of whom left Lebanon.
Shalhoub's brothers and sisters introduced him to the theatre. When Tony was just six years old, one of his elder sisters volunteered her little brother to play an extra in a high school production of The King and I.
Even though the young Tony was left standing on the wrong side of the curtain during the final dress rehearsal, he became hooked to the theatre.
Tony graduated from Green Bay East High School, with his senior peers finding him the best dressed and most likely to succeed. He then graduated with a bachelor's degree in drama from the University of Southern Maine in Portland, Maine, and earned a masters degree from the Yale School of Drama in 1980.
Shortly thereafter, he moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he spent four seasons with the American Repertory Theatre before heading to New York City, where he found work waiting tables while honing his craft and auditioning.
He made his Broadway debut in the 1985 Rita Moreno/Sally Struthers production of The Odd Couple and was nominated for a 1992 Tony Award for his featured role in Conversations with My Father.
Shalhoub met his wife, actress Brooke Adams, when they co-starred on Broadway in The Heidi Chronicles.
His Off-Broadway credits include Waiting for Godot, For Dear Life, Rameau's Nephew, Zero Positive and two productions of Shakespeare in Central Park, Henry IV, part I and Richard II.
Shalhoub returned in December 2006 to Off-Broadway at Second Stage Theatre with (Everybody Loves Raymond star) Patricia Heaton for a run of The Scene by Theresa Rebeck.
By 1991, one of his first television roles was as the Italian cabdriver Antonio Scarpacci in the long-running sitcom Wings, which also starred Tim Daly, Steven Weber, Crystal Bernard, Thomas Haden Church, and Rebecca Schull.
Shalhoub was pleasantly surprised to land the role, after having a recurring role in the second season. He affected an Italian accent for the role.
In the same time period, Shalhoub played the lead victim in the X-Files second-season episode "Soft Light." In 1997, Shalhoub's days of driving in a taxicab came to a bitter end when Wings was cancelled by NBC, and he found himself looking for other roles that would match that character's popularity.
Among his film roles after Wings include a fast-talking lawyer in The Man Who Wasn't There, a sleazy alien pawn shop owner in the Men in Black films, a sympathetic attorney in A Civil Action, a widowed father in Thir13en Ghosts, and a has-been television star in Galaxy Quest.
One of his more unusual roles was in Big Night, in which he plays an Italian-speaking chef, complete with accent.
Shalhoub demonstrated his dramatic range in the 1998 big budget thriller The Siege starring Denzel Washington, Annette Benning and Bruce Willis. His character, FBI Special Agent Frank Haddad, was of Middle Eastern descent and suffered discrimination after Arab terrorists attack sites in New York City.
He also appeared with Alec Baldwin in the Hollywood satire The Last Shot as a gruff small-time mobster with a love for movies, and as the voice of Luigi in the Pixar film Cars.
He later returned to series television in 1999, this time, in a lead role on Stark Raving Mad, opposite Neil Patrick Harris (who would later star in How I Met Your Mother). Unlike Wings, the show didn't attract much of an audience during the first season, and NBC pulled the plug on the series in July of 2000.
Shalhoub did voice acting for the cult classic computer game Fallout. He was one of the celebrity judges for the "Bush In 30 Seconds" advertisement competition.
After a two-year-absence on the small screen, Shalhoub finally found another TV series that has matched the popularity of Wings, starring on Monk, on which he plays a San Francisco detective who was diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
He beat out Michael Richards for the role, who was originally cast when the show was being considered for broadcast on ABC, a network which later reran the first season in 2003.
Shalhoub was nominated for the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series five times consecutively, from 2003-2007. He took home the trophy three times, in 2003, 2005, and 2006.
In addition, he won the Golden Globe in 2003 and a SAG Award in 2004 and 2005.
Career During Monk
In addition to his acting work, Shalhoub, along with the Network of Arab-American Professionals and Zoom-in-Focus productions, established The Arab-American Filmmaker Award Competition in 2005.
Arab-American filmmakers submitted screenplays, with the chosen winner flown to Hollywood to have their screenplay produced. To participate in the production, two runners-up are also invited.
Shalhoub can also be seen in the horror film 1408, as John Cusack's literary agent.
Shalhoub married actress Brooke Adams in 1992. The two have worked together in several films, and Adams has also made guest appearances on Monk.
At the time of their marriage, Adams had an adopted daughter, Josie Lynn (born 1988). In 1993, they had another daughter, Sophie. The family resides in Los Angeles and Green Bay.
Shalhoub's brother Michael has appeared on two episodes of Monk, and in 2006, another brother, Dan, appeared on the reality show American Inventor.
Shalhoub is the cousin of Chicago radio personality Jonathon Brandmeier and the brother-in-law of former Guiding Light actress Lynne Adams.