American television receiver host and comedian
“ Leno ” redirects here. For other uses, see Leno ( disambiguation ) For the planet, see 13212 Jayleno

James Douglas Muir Leno ( ; born April 28, 1950 ) [ 1 ] is an american television master of ceremonies, comedian, and writer. After doing stand-up drollery for years, he became the host of NBC ‘s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992 to 2009. Beginning in September 2009, he started a primetime lecture prove, The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m. ET, besides on NBC. When it was canceled in January 2010 amid a timeslot and host controversy, Leno returned to hosting The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on March 1, 2010. [ 2 ] He hosted his last episode of this second tenure on February 6, 2014. That year, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. [ 3 ] Since 2014, he has hosted Jay Leno’s Garage, and the 2021 revival of You Bet Your Life. Leno writes a regular column in Popular Mechanics showcasing his car collection and giving automotive advice. He besides writes episodic “ Motormouth ” articles for The Sunday Times .

early life

Leno was born April 28, 1950, in New Rochelle, New York. His housewife mother, Catherine ( née Muir ; 1911–1993 ), was born in Greenock, Scotland, and came to the United States at age 11. His don, Angelo ( 1910–1994 ), was an insurance salesman born in New York to immigrants from Flumeri, Italy. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and graduated from Andover High School. [ 4 ] He obtained a bachelor ‘s degree in speech therapy from Emerson College, where he started a comedy club in 1973. [ 5 ] His older brother, Patrick ( May 12, 1940 – October 6, 2002 ), [ 6 ] was a Vietnam War veteran who became an lawyer .


early career

Leno made his first appearance on The Tonight Show on March 2, 1977, performing a comedy act. [ 7 ] [ 8 ] During the 1970s, he had minor roles in several television series and films, beginning in the 1976 episode “ J.J. in Trouble ” of Good Times, and the same year in the fender of Holmes & Yo-Yo. After an uncredited appearance in the 1977 movie Fun with Dick and Jane, he played more outstanding roles in 1978 in American Hot Wax and Silver Bears. His other movie and television appearances from that period include Almost Heaven ( 1978 ), “ Going nowhere ” ( 1979 ) on One Day at a Time, Americathon ( 1979 ), Polyester ( 1981 ), “ The Wild One ” ( 1981 ) on Alice, and both “ Feminine Mistake ” ( 1979 ) and “ Do the Carmine ” ( 1983 ) on Laverne & Shirley. His only star movie function was the 1989 direct-to-video Collision Course, with Pat Morita. He besides appeared numerous times on Late Night with David Letterman. He besides appeared on three weeks of the ephemeral NBC game display Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour in 1983 and 1984 .

The Tonight Show

The Tonight Show Leno in 1993, in the class after becoming host of Starting in 1986, Leno was a even substitute horde for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. In 1992, he replaced Carson as server [ 9 ] amid controversy with David Letterman, who had been hosting Late Night with David Letterman since 1982 ( aired after The Tonight Show ), and whom many—including Carson himself—expected to be Carson ‘s successor. The report of this disruptive passage became the footing of a reserve and a movie. Leno continued to perform as a stand-up comedian throughout his Tonight Show tenure. In 1988, he received a contract extension with NBC itself. [ 10 ] In 2004, Leno signed a contract propagation with NBC to retain him as host of The Tonight Show until 2009. [ 11 ] late in 2004, Conan O’Brien signed a abridge with NBC to become the show ‘s server in 2009, replacing Leno at that fourth dimension. [ 12 ] During the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America affect, Leno was accused of violating WGA guidelines by writing his own soliloquy for The Tonight Show. NBC and Leno claimed there were secret meetings with the WGA where a mystery agreement was reached allowing this, the WGA denied such meetings. [ 13 ] Leno answered questions in front of the Writers Guild of America, West trial committee in February 2009 and June 2009, and when the WGAW published its list of strikebreakers on August 11, 2009, Leno was not on it. [ 14 ] [ 15 ] On April 23, 2009, Leno checked himself into a hospital with an undisclosed illness. [ 16 ] He was released the surveil day and returned to work on Monday, April 27. The two subsequently canceled Tonight Show episodes for April 23 and 24 were his inaugural in 17 years as host. [ 17 ] [ 18 ] The illness was not initially disclosed, but Leno former told People magazine that it was for exhaustion. [ 18 ] [ 19 ]

Michael Jackson trial

During the 2005 test of Michael Jackson over allegations of child harassment, Leno was one of a few celebrities who appeared as defense witnesses. In his testimony regarding a earphone conversation with the accuser, Leno testified that he was not asked for any money and there did not appear to be any coaching—but the calls seemed strange and scripted. [ 20 ]
Leno in 2006 As a result, Leno was initially not allowed to tell jokes about Jackson or the case, which had been a fastness of The Tonight Show ‘s opening soliloquy in particular. But he and his show ‘s writers used a legal loophole by having Leno concisely footprint apart while stand-in comedians took the stage and told jokes about the trial. These stand-ins included Roseanne Barr, Drew Carey, Brad Garrett, and Dennis Miller. [ 21 ] The gag orderliness was challenged, and the court ruled that Leno could continue telling jokes about the trial adenine long as he did not discuss his testimony. Leno celebrated by devoting an stallion monologue to Michael Jackson jokes .

sequence by Conan O’Brien ; The Jay Leno Show

Because Leno ‘s read continued to lead all late-night scheduling in the Nielsen ratings, the pending exhalation of his contract led to speculation about whether he would become a late-night host for another network when his committedness to NBC expired. [ 22 ] He left The Tonight Show on Friday, May 29, 2009, [ 23 ] [ 24 ] and Conan O’Brien took over on June 1, 2009. On December 8, 2008, it was reported that Leno would remain on NBC and move to a new hour-long show at 10 post meridiem Eastern Time ( 9 post meridiem Central Time ) five nights a workweek. [ 25 ] It would follow a similar format to The Tonight Show, be filmed in the same studio, and retain many of Leno ‘s most popular segments, while O’Brien continued to host The Tonight Show. [ 26 ] Leno ‘s new show, The Jay Leno Show, debuted on September 14, 2009. It was announced at the Television Critics Association summer press go that it would feature one or two celebrities, occasional musical guests, and keep the popular “ Headlines ” segments, which would be near the end of the show. foremost guests included Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah Winfrey ( via satellite ), and a brusque sit-down with Kanye West discussing his controversy at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, which had occurred the night before. [ 27 ]

Timeslot dispute and return to The Tonight Show

In their modern roles, neither O’Brien nor Leno succeeded in delivering the see audiences the network anticipated. On January 7, 2010, multiple media outlets reported that beginning March 1, 2010, Leno would move from his 10 post meridiem weeknight time slot to 11:35 post meridiem, due to a combination of coerce from local affiliates, whose newscasts were suffering, and both Leno ‘s and O’Brien ‘s hapless ratings. [ 28 ] [ 29 ] Leno ‘s express would be shortened from an hour to 30 minutes. All NBC late night programming would besides be preempted by the 2010 Winter Olympics between February 15 and 26, moving The Tonight Show to 12:05 ante meridiem, the first post-midnight timeslot in its history. O’Brien ‘s contract stipulated that NBC could move the show ahead to 12:05 ante meridiem without penalty ( a clause included primarily to accommodate sports preemptions ). [ 30 ] On January 10, NBC confirmed that they would move Leno out of primetime as of February 12 and move him to late-night vitamin a soon as possible. [ 31 ] [ 32 ] TMZ reported that O’Brien was given no improvement detect of this change, and that NBC offered him two choices : an hour-long 12:05 ante meridiem fourth dimension slot, or the option to leave the net. [ 33 ] On January 12, O’Brien issued a press passing that he would not continue with Tonight if it moved to a 12:05 ante meridiem time slot, [ 34 ] saying, “ I believe that delaying The Tonight Show into the adjacent day to accommodate another drollery program will badly damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of air. The Tonight Show at 12:05 merely is n’t The Tonight Show. “ On January 21, it was announced that NBC had struck a softwood with o’brien : He would leave The Tonight Show, receive a $ 33 million payout, and his staff of about 200 would receive $ 12 million in the departure. His final examination episode aired on Friday, January 22, 2010. [ 35 ] [ 36 ] [ 37 ] Leno returned as host of The Tonight Show following the 2010 Winter Olympics on March 1, 2010. On July 1, 2010, Variety reported that sum viewership for Leno ‘s Tonight Show had dropped from 5 million to 4 million for the second quarter of 2010, compared to the like period in 2009. Although it represented the show ‘s lowest second-quarter ratings since 1992, Tonight was still the most-watched late nox program, ahead of ABC ‘s Nightline ( 3.7 million ) and Late Show with David Letterman ( 3.3 million ). [ 38 ] [ 39 ]

announcement of successor

On April 3, 2013, NBC announced that Leno would leave The Tonight Show in bounce 2014, with Jimmy Fallon as his intend successor. [ 40 ] Leno ‘s final show as the host of The Tonight Show was on February 6, 2014, with guests Billy Crystal ( who was the first guest on the foremost version of Leno ‘s express ), melodious guest Garth Brooks, and surprise guests Jack Black, Kim Kardashian, Jim Parsons, Sheryl Crow, Chris Paul, Carol Burnett and Oprah Winfrey .

After The Tonight Show

Leno address in 2020 Leno has maintained an active agenda as a touring stand-up comedian, doing an modal of 200 alive performances a class in venues across the United States and Canada [ 41 ] and at charity events and USO tours. [ 42 ] [ 43 ] He has besides appeared on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon [ 44 ] and Late Night with Seth Meyers, [ 45 ] [ 46 ] and was a node on the stopping point of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. [ 44 ] He appeared in a cameo role drill and tormenting James Corden in a bantering boot camp for talk-show hosts on the premier of The Late Late Show with James Corden. [ 47 ] He declined an invitation to appear on Late Show with David Letterman despite speculation he would appear on the show ‘s finale. [ 48 ] Leno hosted a one-hour Jay Leno’s Garage particular on CNBC, [ 49 ] and the picture has aired as a primetime series on the cable impart since 2015. [ 43 ] Leno besides had a recurring function in the Tim Allen comedy series Last Man Standing since temper 5, playing a machinist, Joe Leonard, in a shop operated by Allen ‘s character, Mike Baxter. [ 50 ] Leno has hosted the third base revival of the game read You Bet Your Life since its premier in fall 2021. It has been renewed for a second season. [ 51 ]

Leno besides does spokesperson acting, such as The Crimson Chin on The Fairly Odd Parents from 2001 to 2016 [ 52 ] and Billy Beagle of Mickey and the Roadster Racers. [ 53 ]

Public persona


The Tonight Show in 2005 Leno on set ofin 2005 Leno has faced heated criticism and some negative promotion for his sensed function in the 2010 Tonight Show conflict. [ 54 ] [ 55 ] Critics have cited a 2004 Tonight Show trot where Leno said he would allow O’Brien to take over without incident. [ 55 ] [ 56 ] At the clock, Leno said he did not want O’Brien to leave for a competing network, adding, “ I ‘ll be 59 when [ the switch occurs ]. That ‘s five years from now. There ‘s very only one person who could have done this into his 60s, and that was Johnny Carson ; I think it ‘s carnival to say I ‘m no Johnny Carson. ” [ 56 ] Leno besides described The Tonight Show as a dynasty, saying, “ You hold it and hand it off to the adjacent person. And I do n’t want to see all the crusade. ” At the end of the segment, he said, “ Conan, it ‘s yours ! See you in five years, buddy ! ” [ 57 ] Rosie O’Donnell was among O’Brien ‘s most song and vehement supporters, [ 58 ] [ 59 ] calling Leno a “ bully ” and his actions “ classless and kind of career-defining ”. [ 60 ] Bill Zehme, the co-author of Leno ‘s autobiography Leading with My Chin, told the Los Angeles Times, “ The thing Leno should do is walk, period. He ‘s got everything to lose in terms of public popularity by going rear. People will look at him differently. He ‘ll be viewed as the bad ridicule. ” [ 61 ] In 2009, Leno received minor criticism for asking knocker Kanye West how his recently deceased mother, Donda West, would have felt about the incidental at the 2009 VMAs, causing West to begin crying be on publicize. Howard Stern has besides been a coarse critic of Leno before and following his Tonight Show timeslot-change announcement ; [ 62 ] Stern appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien in 2006 and said he felt it was improbable that Leno would ever willingly give up The Tonight Show. [ 63 ] During the conflict, Stern made many negative remarks about Leno as a guest on Late Show with David Letterman. [ 64 ] Leno has besides been criticized for the perceived variety in the capacity of his monologues from his former stand-up material. Actor and comedian Patton Oswalt was among the celebrities who openly voiced disappointment with Leno, saying, “ Comedians who do n’t like Jay Leno now, and I ‘m one of them, we ‘re not like, ‘Jay Leno sucks ‘ ; it ‘s that we ‘re so damage and disappointed that one of the best comedians of our generation … willfully has shut the switch off. ” [ 65 ] In August 2020, Leno faced criticism for expressing back for Ellen DeGeneres despite a workplace investigation into toxic behavior and sexual mismanage and harassment claims against producers of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. [ 66 ] [ 67 ]

support for Leno

NBC Sports chair and former Saturday Night Live manufacturer Dick Ebersol spoke out against all who had criticized Leno, calling them “ chicken-hearted and namby-pamby ”. [ 68 ] Jeff Gaspin, then president of NBC Universal Television Entertainment, besides defended Leno, saying, “ This has decidedly crossed the line. Jay Leno is the complete professional and one of the hardest-working people in television. It ‘s a shame that he ‘s being pulled into this. ” [ 61 ] Fellow comedians Paul Reiser, Jerry Seinfeld and Jim Norton ( a patronize contributor to The Tonight Show ) besides voiced documentation for Leno. [ 69 ] [ 70 ] [ 71 ] Responding to the mounting criticism, Leno said NBC had assured him that O’Brien was uncoerced to accept the proposed agreement and that they would not let either host out of his contract. [ 72 ] He besides said that the situation was “ all commercial enterprise ”, and that all of the decisions were made by NBC. [ 72 ] He appeared on the January 28, 2010 episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show in an try to repair some of the wrong done to his public picture. [ 73 ]


Leno ‘s comedic influences include Johnny Carson, Robert Klein, Alan King, David Brenner, Mort Sahl, George Carlin, [ 74 ] Don Rickles, [ 75 ] Bob Newhart, [ 76 ] and Rodney Dangerfield. [ 77 ] Dennis Miller and Jerry Seinfeld have credited Leno as their inhalation. [ 78 ]

personal life

Leno has been married to Mavis Leno since 1980 ; they have no children. [ 79 ] In 1993, during his first temper as host of The Tonight Show, Leno ‘s mother died at the historic period of 82 ; and the next class, his father died at 84. [ 80 ] Leno ‘s older brother, Patrick, a Vietnam seasoned and alumnus of Yale Law School, died of cancer in 2002 at the age of 62. [ 81 ] Leno is known for his outstanding jaw, which has been described as mandibular prognathism. [ 82 ] In the book Leading with My Chin, he says he was mindful of surgery that could reset his lower jaw, but that he did not wish to endure a prolong mend period with his chew the fat wired closed. Leno is dyslexic. [ 5 ] He claims to need only four or five hours of sleep each night. [ 83 ] He does not consume alcohol, fume, or gamble. [ 84 ] He spends much of his free time visiting car collections and working in his private garage. [ 84 ] Leno has claimed that he has not spent any of the money he earned from The Tonight Show, but lives off of his money from his stand-up routines. [ 85 ] [ 86 ] [ 87 ] He reportedly earned $ 32 million in 2005. [ 88 ] In 2014, he received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Emerson College, where he besides delivered the commencement speech. [ 89 ]


In 2001, he and his wife donated $ 100,000 to the Feminist Majority Foundation ‘s campaign to stop gender apartheid in Afghanistan, to educate the public regarding the betroth of women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Mavis Leno is on the board of the Feminist Majority. [ 90 ] [ 91 ] In 2009, he donated $ 100,000 to a scholarship fund at Salem State College ( now Salem State University ) in honor of Lennie Sogoloff, who gave Leno his begin at his sleep together baseball club, Lennie’s-on-the-Turnpike. [ 92 ] In August 2012, Leno auctioned his Fiat 500, which was sold for $ 385,000 with all the proceeds going to a charity that helps wounded war veterans recover by providing them with impermanent housing. [ 93 ]

Love Ride

Since 1985, [ 94 ] Leno has been the Grand Marshal for the Love Ride, a motorbike charity event which since its establish in 1984 has raised closely $ 14 million for charities benefiting muscular dystrophy research, Autism Speaks, [ 95 ] and in 2001, the September 11 attacks convalescence. [ 96 ]

Vehicle collection

Leno owns approximately 286 vehicles ( 169 cars and 117 motorbikes ). [ 98 ] He besides has a web site and a television program called Jay Leno’s Garage, which contains television clips and photos of his car collection in contingent, equally well as other vehicles of interest to him. [ 99 ] Leno ‘s Garage Manager is Bernard Juchli. [ 100 ] Among his solicitation are two Doble steam cars, a sedan and a buggy that were owned by Howard Hughes, the one-fifth Duesenberg Model X known to survive, and one of nine remaining 1963 Chrysler Turbine Cars. The solicitation besides includes three antique electric cars — the 1925 Baker Motor Vehicle is his wife Mavis ‘ favorite car. [ 101 ] He has a regular column in Popular Mechanics which showcases his car collection and gives advice about assorted automotive topics, including restoration and unique models, such as his jet-powered motorbike and solar-powered loanblend. Leno besides writes periodic “ Motormouth ” articles for The Sunday Times, [ 102 ] reviewing high-end sports cars and giving his humorous take on motoring matters. Leno opened his garage to Team Bondi, the company that developed the 2011 television game L.A. Noire, which is set in Los Angeles in the late-1940s. Leno ‘s collection contains about one hundred cars from this time period, and allowed the team to recreate their images ampere accurately as potential. [ 103 ]


Hosting the 2014 Genesis Prize prize ceremony in Jerusalem, Leno made jokes mocking then-President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State John Kerry, accusing Obama of “ trying to break ” the U.S. ‘s kinship with Israel. [ 104 ] In a 2015 interview with The Jerusalem Post, Leno said, “ I always considered Israel as not only the only democracy in the Middle East, I think it ’ s the purest, because every israeli voter seems to have his own political party. ” [ 105 ] He besides added about Israel ‘s relations with early Middle Eastern countries : “ Israel is so effective in defending itself and so full at it, that to the rest of the world it looks like bullying. ” [ 105 ]


Awards and nominations


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