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Jay Leno

Comedian / Talk Show Host

Born: 28 April 1950
Birthplace: New Rochelle, New York
Best known as:

The host of TV's The Tonight Show, 1992-2009 and 2010-2014

Jay Leno was the host of NBC's late-night program The Tonight Show from 1992 to 2009 and from 2010 until 2014, when he was replaced by Jimmy Fallon. Jay Leno first gained fame as a standup comedian with intense work habits: he reportedly toured 300 nights a year during the late 1980s. He eventually became a regular vacation stand-in for the legendary Johnny Carson, who hosted The Tonight Show for nearly 30 years. When Carson retired in 1992, Jay Leno got the job full-time. (The same job had been coveted by comedian David Letterman, whose own program had followed Carson's for years. Letterman then moved his program Late Night to CBS, beginning a long-running rivalry between his program and Leno's.) Jay Leno is known as a gentle and unthreatening comic with mass-market appeal, and he is often kidded about his sizable chin. (His book Leading With My Chin was published in 1998.) In 2004 he signed a contract extension to continue hosting The Tonight Show through 2009. NBC announced in 2008 that Leno would step down as the host of The Tonight Show in 2009, although it seemed clear that Leno didn't really want to go. Leno's last show was 29 May 2009, and he was replaced as host of The Tonight Show by Conan O'Brien on 1 June 2009. Leno then began hosting his own 10-11:00 talk show on NBC, but that experiment was a flop. NBC announced in January 2010 that Leno would return to his traditional 11:35 time slot in March with a half-hour show that would not be The Tonight Show. After O'Brien said he wasn't willing to have The Tonight Show vacate that time slot, NBC bought out O'Brien's contract for a reported $44 million. Leno then returned as host of The Tonight Show on 1 March 2010 for a fresh run.  Jay Leno's last night was 6 February 2014, and Fallon became host of a new version of the show hosted in New York instead of Los Angeles. 

Extra credit:

Jay Leno married his wife Mavis in 1980; they have no children... Jay Leno is a collector of vintage automobiles and motorcycles.

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