James Douglas Muir “Jay” Leno is an American stand-up comedian and television host.
From 1992 to 2009, Leno was the host of NBC’s The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00 p.m., also on NBC. After The Jay Leno Show was cancelled in January 2010 amid a host controversy, Leno returned to host The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on March 1, 2010.
Jay Leno was born in New Rochelle, New York, on April 28, 1950. His mother, Catherine, a homemaker, was born in Greenock, Scotland, and came to the United States at age 11. Her schooling was limited and as a result she prized her children’s successes. Leno’s father, Angelo, who worked as an insurance salesman, was born in New York to immigrants from Flumeri, Italy. Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, and although his high school guidance counselor recommended that he drop out of school, he later obtained a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy from Emerson College, where he started a comedy club in 1973. Leno’s siblings include his late older brother, Patrick, who was a Vietnam veteran and a lawyer.
He replaced Johnny Carson as host of The Tonight Show in 1992, after having been a regular substitute host for Carson since 1987. Leno continued to perform as a stand-up comedian throughout his tenure on The Tonight Show.