Tony Shalhoub

Active - 1988 - 2021  |   Born - Oct 9, 1953 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Comedy Drama, Drama

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Biography by Jason Buchanan

A uniquely gifted and versatile actor possessing the distinct ability to immerse himself in a role so convincingly that he becomes almost unrecognizable -- from a quality obsessed restaurateur (Big Night, 1996) to a master criminal bent on world domination (Spy Kids, 2001) -- one can always count on Tony Shalhoub to deliver a memorable performance no matter how small his role may be.

Well-known to television audiences for his extended stint as a self-deprecating cabbie on the long-running series Wings, Shalhoub made the often-painful transition from television to film with a grace seldom seen. Born on October 9th, 1953 in Green Bay, WI, Shalhoub developed his passion for theater at the youthful age of six when he volunteered via his sister to play an extra in a high-school production of The King and I. Shalhoub was hooked. After earning his master's degree from the Yale Drama School and spending four seasons at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, Shalhoub packed his bags for New York where he began a luminous career on Broadway. Broadway brought Shalhoub success not only in his career, but in his personal life as well: he was nominated for a Tony for his role in Conversations With My Father and he met his future wife, actress Brooke Adams, while acting in The Heidi Chronicles. It was not long after his Broadway success that Shalhoub made his feature debut, as a doctor in the 1990 AIDS drama Longtime Companion.

Shalhoub's film career has been a testament to his range and a compliment to his abilities. Though prone to comedy, his dramatic roles have gained him just as much, if not more, recognition than his comedic roles. Winning the Best Supporting Actor award from the National Society of Film Critics for his well-researched role in Big Night (1996), Shalhoub expanded his dramatic film repertoire with roles in A Civil Action and The Siege (both 1998), while always maintaining his knack for humor (1997's Men in Black). Shalhoub's role as the ultra-mellow "anti-Scottie" in the Star Trek send-up Galaxy Quest (1999) proved that his comic persona was indeed still as sharp as ever. Sticking in the sci-fi/fantasy mold for his roles in Imposter and Spy Kids (both 2001), Shalhoub once again proved that he could do 180-degree character turnarounds with ease.

Though Shalhoub would stay in sci-fi mode for his role in Men in Black 2, he would return to solid ground with his role as an obsessive-compulsive detective in the well-received television pilot Monk (2002). Directed by Galaxy Quest helmer Dean Parisot, the pilot for Monk successfully paved the way for the curiously innovative USA series to follow and found the actor warmly re-embracing the medium that had propelled him to stardom. As Monk's popularity continued to grow, Shaloub found success on the big screen in the role of a gifted psychologist for The Great New Wonderful (2005), and voiced the lovable Luigi in Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011). In 2007, he worked alongside John Cusack and Samuel L. Jackson for the supernatural horror film 1408.

Movie Highlights

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  • At age 6, his sister volunteered him as an extra in a high-school production of The King and I.
  • Made his TV debut in The Equalizer in 1986, and five years later became a series regular on the popular sitcom Wings.
  • Met future wife Brooke Adams while acting together in Wendy Wasserstein's 1989 Broadway production of The Heidi Chronicles, which won a Pulitzer Prize.
  • Starred for eight seasons as the crime-solving ex-cop suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder in Monk.
  • Costarred in the 1986 film Big Night with Stanley Tucci, who also directed him in the 2010 Broadway revival of Lend Me a Tenor