Jay Leno Celebrity Watchlist

Biography

His down-to-earth persona and topical humor have helped make Leno one of the most recognizable personalities in the business. In the '70s, the comic toured as a stand-up — sometimes booking as many as 300 gigs annually — and made multiple appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. In the '80s, Leno warmed Carson's seat as the show's regular guest host. When Carson retired in 1992, NBC passed hosting duties for The Tonight Show to Jay Leno, much to the chagrin of competitor David Letterman who had his eye on job. Leno sustained his popularity and approachability well into the '00s. In 2009, Leno reluctantly agreed to step down from The Tonight Show, allowing his chosen successor, Conan O'Brien, to take over. In a surprising move, NBC offered Leno a nightly prime-time program, The Jay Leno Show. When it debuted in 2009, the show failed to gain traction and was subsequently canceled. NBC offered to rearrange both the prime time and late-night schedules to include everyone involved, but the arrangement rattled Conan O'Brien, who eventually refused because altering the schedule would harm The Tonight Show's long-lasting reputation. When the dust finally settled on the late-night conflict, Leno took back The Tonight Show, and Conan O'Brien left NBC. Off-screen, Leno spends his leisure time peacefully with his wife and his collection of classic cars and motorcycles.

Fast Facts

  • Moved to L.A. after college and did some writing for the sitcom Good Times during the 1970s.
  • Helped raise $430,000 for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita by auctioning off a one-of-a-kind Porsche Carrera GT.
  • Collects motorcycles and antique cars, and writes a column for Popular Mechanics called Jay Leno's Garage.
  • Wrote several books, including How to Be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World (or Just in Your Class), a collection of jokes and riddles that also gives advice to kids on succeeding as a comedian.

Awards

  • 1995, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Winner
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1994, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2002, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2005, Emmy — Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program: Nominee
  • 1996, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2003, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1993, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1998, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 1999, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee
  • 2006, People's Choice Awards — Favorite Late Night Talk Show Host: Winner
  • 2008, Emmy — Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Nonfiction Programs: Nominee
  • 2009, Emmy — Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Nonfiction Programs: Nominee
  • 2011, Emmy — Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Nonfiction Programs: Winner
  • 2013, Emmy — Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Nonfiction Programs: Nominee
  • 2012, Emmy — Outstanding Special Class - Short-Format Nonfiction Programs: Nominee
  • 2014, Emmy — Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program: Nominee
  • 2000, Emmy — Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series: Nominee

Relationships

  • Cathryn Leno — Mother
  • Angelo Leno — Father
  • Patrick Leno — Brother
  • Mavis Nicholson — Wife

College

  • Emerson College, Boston, MA (BA, Speech Therapy, 1973)

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Details

  • Birth Name: James Douglas Muir Leno
  • Birth Place: New Rochelle, NY
  • Birthday: April 28, 1950, Taurus
  • Profession: Talk-show host, Comedian, Author
  • User Rating:4 out of 5 (321 ratings)
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