Apr. 28th, 1950
New Rochelle, New York, USA
Guest TV Roles[none found]
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.
- Is one of the few owners of the McLaren F1 supercar.
- Owns over 30 classic cars and over 40 motorcycles. His very first automobile was a 1934 Ford V-8 truck, which he restored himself at the age of 14.
- In 2007, Forbes Magazine estimated his earnings for the year to be $32 million.
- His wife, Mavis, is active in the Feminist Majority Foundation which helps raise funds to combat the strict Islamic fundamentalist Taliban regime that requires women to wear head-to-toe shrouds. Her first appearance on _"The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (1962)_ (qv) was March 2, 1977.
- During the 'Michael Jackson (I)' (qv) trial in February of 2005, Jay Leno had been subpoenaed to testify at the trial. Judge Rodney S. Melville issued a "gag order" barring anyone involved in the case from discussing it outside court, and the comedian feared that the order would apply to his monologues on _"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992)_ (qv). He was allowed to write the jokes but not tell them. To get around this order, Leno called on his fellow comedians to tell the jokes he wrote for him. Some of these people included 'Brad Garrett (I)' (qv), 'Scott 'Carrot Top' Thompson' (qv), 'Roseanne' (qv), 'Dennis Miller (I)' (qv), and 'Drew Carey' (qv). They came out and told the jokes while Leno stood beside them on stage. On March 11, 2005, the judge had the gag order lifted. In a statement, he explained, "I am not attempting to prevent anybody from making a living in the normal way that they make their living," adding that Leno may not talk about the specific things to which he is a witness.
- Raised in Andover, Massachusetts.
- 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.
- Driver of Pace Car at 83rd Indianapolis 500; May 30, 1999.