Apr. 28th, 1950
New Rochelle, New York, USA
Guest TV Roles
The Crimson Chin
Crystal Ball (Voiced)
Jay Leno began his career in night clubs, where he worked 300 nights a year before hitting it big in 1992 with his own late-night talk show, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992). By that time he had appeared on television, acted in a few films (American Hot Wax (1978)) but hit paydirt with his late-night television appearances (he made a record number of visits to "Late Night with David Letterman" (1982)); for several years, he served as Johnny Carson (I)'s permanent guest host on "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962). A big, sweet guy with a very good comedy routine, he vied with David Letterman to inherit Carson's seat when Johnny retired in 1992. His victory was well-publicized, but empty, though he did gain a measure of revenge when his show beat Letterman's for the Emmy in 1995. Though he consistently lost in the ratings to Letterman except on special occasions, like Hugh Grant (I)'s first TV appearance after his encounter with Divine Brown (I), he surged ahead in 1996, as CBS plunged further into oblivion.
- Under the teacher's comments of Jay's 5th-grade report card read, "If Jay spent as much time studying as he does trying to be a comedian, he'd be a big star."
- He has recently started a tradition for his Thanksgiving day shows. Each year on Thanksgiving Day, the entire audience is made up of men and women of the Armed Forces. He is usually the only late-night host to tape a new show on Thanksgiving Day.
- Met his wife while performing at a comedy club in Los Angeles. Mavis was in the audience, and she laughed at all his jokes at the right time.
- Had guests sign one of his Harley Davidsons (the first being 'Arnold Schwarzenegger' (qv)), after which the bike was auctioned off with the money going to help victims of the September 11th attacks.
- When he was a child, he fell down the stairs. As a result of the accident, his spleen was ripped and had to be removed.
- In November 2006, on his show, he ate a vegetable for the first time in 37 years.
- In 2007, Forbes Magazine estimated his earnings for the year to be $32 million.
- On an episode of "The Tonight Show," he claimed that he got in his first auto accident a mere 81 hours after getting his driver's license.