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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In November 2006, on his show, he ate a vegetable for the first time in 37 years.
- Although Leno's _"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992)_ (qv) predecessor 'Johnny Carson (I)' (qv) appeared on rival late night talk show _"Late Show with David Letterman" (1993)_ (qv) twice (in a walk-on stage appearance soon after Letterman's show debuted, and later in a filmed segment), Carson never once appeared on _"The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (1992)_ (qv) with his successor. Many, including Leno, took this as a sign that "Johnny likes Dave more" and would have preferred 'David Letterman' (qv) to have been his "Tonight Show" replacement.
- 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.
- A 1972 graduate of Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
- 'Billy Crystal' (qv) was his very first guest on Monday May 25, 1992. when Jay took over the late night throne vacated by 'Johnny Carson (I)' (qv) on Friday May 22, 1992.