|Country of origin:
|United States of America
|Source of Wealth:
|Comedian, TV presenter
James Douglas Muir Leno is an American actor, comedian and television host from New York. He first gained recognition when he made his debut on “The Tonight Show” in 1977, where he performed a comedy routine. He is most famous as the host of NBC’s Tonight Show, which he hosted from 1992 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2014. He has also acted in a few films.
James Douglas Muir Leno was born on April 28, 1950 in New Rochelle, New York to Angelo Leno, an insurance salesman, and Cathryn Leno, a homemaker. He later moved to Andover, Massachusetts, where he spent most of his childhood. Already in elementary school, Leno showed his comedic tendencies with pranks and jokes. His teacher’s comment in the fifth grade report card that “if Jay spent as much time studying as he does trying to be a comedian, he’d be a big star,” proved prophetic. Leno attended Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts, graduating in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Therapy. During his college years, he performed in local nightclubs as a stand-up comedian and at talent shows.
After graduating from college, Jay Leno moved to Los Angeles and wrote for the television show Good Times. He also worked as a warm-up act for Johnny Mathis and Tom Jones. He made his debut on The Tonight Show in 1977 and became a regular on the variety show The Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. In the mid-1980s, Leno hosted his first television comedy special, Jay Leno and the American Dream. In 1987, he signed a deal with NBC that made him one of the Tonight Show’s two permanent guest hosts. With more than 300 appearances a year, Leno earned a reputation as one of the busiest comedians. He is also known for his observational humor and cartoonish facial features, which he referenced in the title of his 1996 autobiography, Leading With My Chin. In 1992, he became the host of NBC’s Late Night Show. In 1993, Leno received a five-year contract extension for $40 million, and in 1998 she received another five-year contract extension, this time for $100 million. In September 2009, the new Jay Leno Show aired for the first time. Unfortunately, Leno’s new show failed to attract a large audience and ratings for The Tonight Show also fell. So in March 2010, Leno resumed hosting The Tonight Show. On February 6, 2014, he hosted his final Tonight Show and resumed touring as a stand-up comedian. He soon began hosting Jay Leno’s Garage, a web series on NBC.com inspired by his love of cars and motorcycles, which became a television series on CNBC in 2015. That year, he also appeared in a recurring role on the Tim Allen sitcom Last Man Standing. He then appeared on the celebrity competition series Lip Sync Battle and was a guest judge on America’s Got Talent.
In 1989, Jay Leno received the Writers Guild of America Award for Variety and Musical. In 1995 he received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series. Leno was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000. In 2006 he received the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Late Night Talk Show. In 2014, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame and received the Kennedy Center’s Mark Twain Award for American Humor.
- “I think having high self-esteem is overrated. Low self-esteem is actually quite good. Maybe you’re not the best and should try a little harder.”
- “You can’t be mad at someone who makes you laugh – it’s as simple as that.”
- “Go through your phone book, call people and ask them to drive you to the airport. Those who drive you are your real friends. The others aren’t bad people, they’re just acquaintances.”
- “Scientists complain that a dinosaur movie shows dinosaurs with lemurs that didn’t evolve until a million years later. They fear the film could give the wrong impression to children. What about the fact that the dinosaurs sing and dance?”
tips for success
The comedian didn’t find success overnight, but he discovered the key to wealth early on, which was developing multiple income streams. From the moment Leno entered the workforce, he always had at least two ways to make money: “I had two jobs because I realized it was the quickest way to become a millionaire.” Leno always saved the larger salary and lived on the smaller. He continued to rely on this strategy when he started The Tonight Show. “I acted like I didn’t even have the Tonight Show job,” says Leno, who instead made a living off the money he made from comedy on the side.