- NAME: Jay Leno
- OCCUPATION: Talk Show Host
- BIRTH DATE: April 28, 1950 (Age: 63)
- Did You Know?: Jay Leno reportedly doesn't spend any of the money that he makes from The Tonight Show, instead spending the money he makes from his stand-up routines.
- EDUCATION: Emerson College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: New Rochelle, New York
- Full Name: James Douglas Muir Leno
- AKA: Jay Leno
- AKA: James Leno
- ZODIAC SIGN: Taurus
Best Known For
Jay Leno is the longtime host of NBC's The Tonight Show. Leno announced that he plans to exit the long-running series in spring of 2014.
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Jay Leno was born in New Rochelle, New York, on April 28, 1950. Beginning his stand-up career while in college, Leno moved to Los Angeles and wrote for television. He became guest host of The Tonight Show in 1987 and—when Johnny Carson retired in 1992—NBC chose Leno as his replacement. In 2009, after 17 years as host and an Emmy, Leno handed the show to Conan O'Brien. But, only a few months later,
"Politics is just show business for ugly people."
NBC caused controversy by bringing Leno back as host and bumping O'Brien. In April 2013, Leno announced plans to exit The Tonight Show. Jimmy Fallon will be the show's new host, beginning after Leno's contract ends in 2014.
Famed comedian and television host Jay Leno was born James Douglas Muir Leno on April 28, 1950, in New Rochelle, New York, to father Angelo Leno, an insurance salesman, and mother Cathryn Leno, a homemaker. He later moved to Andover, Massachusetts, where he spent the duration of his childhood and young-adult life.
As a student in grade school, Leno displayed his comic tendencies with pranks and practical jokes. His fifth-grade teacher's report card comments—"if Jay spent as much time studying as he does trying to be a comedian, he'd be a big star"—turned out to be prophetic.
He is best known for being one of the busiest performers in comedy; for years he booked more than 300 appearances annually. He's also famous for his clean, observational brand of humor and a cartoon-like facial features, which he made reference to in the title of his 1996 autobiography, Leading With My Chin.
Leno attended Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in speech therapy. While in school, Leno performed stand-up comedy in local night clubs, and emceed talent shows for extra money. He moved to Los Angeles after graduation, and wrote for the television show Good Times; a job that fellow late-nighter David Letterman also had. In addition he worked as the warm-up act for Johnny Mathis and Tom Jones.
Leno made his first appearance on The Tonight Show in 1977, and was a regular on the variety show The Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. Show. In the mid-1980s, Leno hosted his first comedy special on TV: Jay Leno and the American Dream. Around this same period, he made numerous successful appearances on late-night TV, particularly Late Night with David Letterman. Later that year, he signed a deal with NBC that made him one of two permanent guest hosts of The Tonight Show. He became the only guest host two years later.
In 1992, Johnny Carson surprised many by retiring from his long-standing role as America's beloved and premier talk show host. There had been speculation that David Letterman, whose Late Night show followed Carson's, would take over hosting duties, a position he had publicly coveted. However, NBC picked the more clean-cut Leno, who most considered to be a safer, more middle-America-friendly choice.
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