James Douglas Muir Leno, known professionally as Jay Leno, was born in New Rochelle, New York, on 28 April 1950. He is mostly famous for being the host of the The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Leno was raised in Andover and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech therapy from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts. He married Mavis Elizabeth Nicholson Leno in 1980. They agreed not to have any children.
He first performed at a comedy club in Los Angeles, where he met his wife. In the 1970s he wrote jokes for the television show Good Times. In 1977, Leno appeared for the first time on The Tonight Show and later became its permanent guest host, in 1987. When in 1992 Johnny Carson retired from the show, Leno became the only guest host. In 2009, NBC announced that Jay Leno would be succeeded by Conan O’Brien. Jay Leno then began his own show, i.e. The Jay Leno show in September 2009.
In 2010, Jay Leno held his own show before The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien, but the NBC decided to change the shows’ time slots and from then on to broadcast them thirty minutes later. This decision was not well received by O’Brien who considered that the ratings at midnight were too poor. He eventually left The Tonight Show and was replaced by his predecessor, namely Jay Leno. Surprisingly, Leno’s return was less successful than expected and the show posted its lowest ratings since its beginning in 1992. On 6 February 2014, Jay Leno presented his last show. Jimmy Fallon took over on 17 February 2014 with The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
Having a hobby of collecting antique motorcycles and antique cars, he began his Jay Leno’s Garage show which he still currently hosts. He now counts more than 100 antique and luxurious cars and 90 bikes in his private garage, which spans two centuries of automotive history.
He has written several books such as “How to Be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World (or Just in Your Class)” or the autobiographical “Leading with My Chin” (the title being a reference to the complexion of his face).
Needless to say, his funniness has allowed him to has made him a lot of money. Forbes magazine estimated that he had earned $32 million within the year 2007. But he has not kept all his wealth for himself. Leno also has a great sense of generosity. This philanthropist has indeed donated $100,000 to an organization that fights gender apartheid in Afghanistan.
Jay Leno is very famous and has played his own role in a lot of popular shows including Friends or Hannah Montana. Moreover, he has hosted a great number of celebrities such as Robin Williams and Jean Dujardin in The Tonight Show. His obvious talent has also won him several prizes, the latest one being the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour.
To sum up, Jay Leno has become an icon in the American culture for his outspokenness, his directness, even if his comments are sometimes blunt, which doesn't please everybody. Even though, Jay Leno has millions of fans worldwide, and he has been chosen as one of the nicest people in show business and undeniably the hardest-working. For years he booked more than 3 hundred appearances annually.
Justine Martin, Pauline Sine, Florence Drapier