From a childhood play in his hometown to eight seasons as an obsessive-compulsive detective to his most recent role as Abe Weissman on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, actor Tony Shalhoub shared the journey of his acting career with a barn full of eager listeners and one particular Monk superfan: scholar and filmmaker Henry Louis (Skip) Gates Jr.

On Monday night, Mr. Gates engaged Mr. Shalhoub in conversation during a fundraiser at Misty Meadows Equine Learning Center in West Tisbury, which raised more than $40,000. The event was part of a series of fundraisers this summer to help the organization with its mission to “provide a nurturing environment where horses and humans work together to transform lives.” Proceeds go toward maintaining affordability and accessibility for all.

Highlighted at the event was a new lift, purchased with the help of a grant obtained earlier this year. The lift enables riders with a range of physical abilities to mount a horse. Attendees watched the mechanism in action through the night, even lifting Mr. Shalhoub into the air for a final demonstration.

Mr. Gates interviewed Mr. Shalhoub about his history with horses, his acting career and the stroke of fate that brought his family from their home in Lebanon to Green Bay, Wis., where Mr. Shalhoub grew up and made his onstage debut.

Tony Shalhoub in conversation with Skip Gates. — Jeanna Shepard

This was not the first time that Mr. Gates has interviewed Mr. Shalhoub. Having met each other at cocktail parties on the Island, Mr. Gates had the actor as a guest on his show Finding Your Roots in 2021.

“It was one of my favorite episodes,” Mr. Gates said in an interview with the Gazette before the event. “I got to highlight the Armenian Genocide, which we don’t learn a lot about...I also loved Monk as a fan for years. I’m a little like the character.”

Before the conversation, horses grazed among the guests while pianist Jeremy Berlin played a duet with guest musician Tony Smalls, a miniature horse in residence who is known for his painting and piano skills.

“Misty wants to provide the community with heartfelt experiences — a way to understand how horses can change people’s lives,” said board member Laura Plunkett. “We’ve chosen speakers because of their huge hearts and understanding of horses.”

Mr. Shalhoub is a seasonal resident of Chilmark. He said he first visited the Island with his wife, actress Brooke Adams, in 1991 before they were married. His connection to horses started with his youngest daughter, Sophie.

Misty Meadows executive director Sarah McKay with Tony Shalhoub. — Jeanna Shepard

“When she was a child, Sophie had some behavioral and physical health issues,” Mr. Shalhoub said. “We took her to all kinds of specialists, but in the end, it was on the back of a horse that really helped our child.”

He explained that when four-year-old Sophie mounted a horse for the first time, the stress she carried in her shoulders immediately dissolved.

“She could let go of trying to control everything in her life,” Mr. Shalhoub said.

As a young adult, Sophie took part in the focus group in 2015 that eventually developed Misty Meadows and advocated for the need of on-Island veterinary care for horses. Though the organization did not have the capacity to meet this need, Sarah McKay, executive director of Misty Meadows, recalled that Sophie’s advocacy contributed to the Equine Emergency Health Clinic that Misty Meadows held this January.

Now, at 29, Sophie is starting a trail-riding business in upstate New York called Skyhold Ranch.

Pianist and artist Tony Smalls, a miniature horse, was in attendance. — Jeanna Shepard

Shifting their focus to Mr. Shalhoub’s upbringing, Mr. Gates and Mr. Shalhoub discussed the family history they uncovered together during Finding Your Roots. The second youngest of 10 siblings, Mr. Shalhoub said that his propensity for acting came from a childhood of vying for attention. His first role, he said, was an act of coercion by his older sister who recruited him to perform in her high school production of The King and I.

He said he took on his favorite role recently when he became a grandfather.

A more somber mood fell over the crowd as Mr. Shalhoub discussed his family’s tragic journey to the United States following the Armenian Genocide. He attributes his family’s success and resilience to the bravery of his ancestors — and a bit of chance. He said that their story of hardship fuels his optimism for the future.

“If we fall into negativity, it’s dishonoring their resilience and courage,” he said.

Mr. Shalhoub’s father, Joe Shalhoub, was born in 1912 in Lebanon, which was then a part of the Ottoman Empire. Joe Shalhoub came to the United States through Ellis Island with an aunt after his parents were killed as a result of the genocide.

Mr. Shalhoub’s father arrived at the Green Bay, Wis. train station when he was eight years old. There he met 10-year-old Helen Seroogy, who would later become his wife and Mr. Shalhoub’s mother.

“Certain things bloom out of tragedy,” Mr. Shalhoub said. “We are all products of horrible occurrences, but we all dream that we learn something from it and don’t perpetuate or repeat the atrocities.”

After the fundraiser, Mr. Shalhoub told Mr. Gates he will be embarking on an “indefinite vacation” as a result of the national Hollywood writers strike, enjoying his summer on the Island before, perhaps, stepping back onto the theatre stage after a five-year hiatus.

The next summer fundraising event at Misty Meadows takes place August 7 and features author Geraldine Brooks interviewing a celebrity guest. Vist for information and tickets.