Jay Leno (born 28.4.1950)
Jay Leno is an American comedian and TV host. He took over from Johnny Carson as the host of the Tonight Show in 1992, with Conan O Brien taking over from Leno in May 2009.
Jay Leno: Childhood
Jay Leno was born in the New Rochelle area of New York, to Catherine and Angelo Leno. His mother was a filmmaker and his father worked in show business. Jay was raised in Massachusetts and, despite receiving advice to drop out of high school because his grades were low, he went on to graduate not only from high school, but also from Emerson, where he received a bachelor's degree in speech therapy.
Early on in his career in show business, Leno appeared in commercials for Doritos, as well as being the warm-up act for the likes of Tom Jones and Johnny Mathis.
Jay Leno: Breakthrough
In 1992, Jay Leno took over from Johnny Carson as the host of The Tonight Show, beating David Letterman to the job. At the end of his reign on the show, NBC scheduled Leno to present an hour-long show at 10pm, five nights a week. In the film The Late Shift, which detailed the rivalry between Letterman and Leno, Jay Leno was played by Daniel Roebuck. His manager, Helen Kushnick, was played by Kathy Bates.
One of the most popular features on The Tonight Show is the 'Jaywalking' segment, where Jay Leno approaches people on the street and asks them questions regarding current affairs, or historical events.
In the past, Leno has stated in an interview that he lives off the money that he earns from his career as a stand-up comedian and saves the money that he earns presenting The Tonight Show.
Jay Leno: Personal Life
Jay Leno has been married to Mavis Leno since 1980. The couple have no children together.
In 2005, Jay Leno appeared as a witness at the trial of Michael Jackson, when he was accused of child molestation. Leno was expected to testify in favour of Michael Jackson, but when it came to the trial, the outcome was very different and Leno sated that he never called the police and that no money had been asked for by the child's parents, though he did state that the calls from the parents seemed unusual. At the time, he had been banned from telling jokes about Michael Jackson and the trial. In order to bypass the law, he had a number of comedians stand in and tell the jokes for him. Those who did stand in included Dennis Miller, Roseanne Barr and Brad Garrett.
Leno has made a number of cameo film appearances, including briefly playing himself in Major League II, starring Charlie Sheen, as well as an episode of Baywatch. He has also appeared in the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, starring Will Smith and Joey, an offshoot of Friends, starring Matt Bianco.
Leno was criticized for breaking the 2007-8 WGA Writers' Strike when he wrote his own opening monologue for The Tonight Show.
Jay Leno owns a large collection of vintage cars and motorcycles. In 2001, he auctioned one of his Harley Davidson motorcycles in order to raise money for the victims of the 9/11 New York terrorist attacks. The bike had been signed by a number of his TV guests. He did the same in 2005 to raise money for victims of Hurricane Katrina.