His late-night television ratings included more than two decades of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” He has been honored by the Television Academy with an Emmy for “Outstanding Comedy, Variety or Music Series.” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” has also taken home the trophy for “Favorite Late Night Show” in the annual TV Guide Awards determined by voting viewers, and he was recently installed in the Television Academy’s Broadcast Hall of Fame.
He currently produces and stars in “Jay Leno’s Garage.” The NBC creation, which is viewed at Jaylenosgarage.com, has gained an Emmy Award and two additional nominations for Outstanding Special Class–Short-Format Nonfiction Programs.
Leno is the recipient of the People’s Choice Award and other honors, including the Harris Poll selection as most popular star on television. Other personal highlights include his induction into the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ Broadcasting Hall of Fame, his upcoming reception of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts’ Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the Hasty Pudding Award at Harvard University, an honor whose sole prior comedy/talk host recipient was Johnny Carson and an honorary doctorate from his alma mater, Emerson College.
Like Mr. Carson, Groucho Marx and an elite group of entertainment figures, he has been invited to have his papers installed in the Library of Congress. He also received a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. He also has set several land speed records and became the first person to drive the pace car of all major NASCAR events.
He interrupted these pursuits to make his first trip to Israel for the honor of presenting the Genesis Award, Israel’s equivalent of the Nobel Award, to Michael Bloomberg.
It was in May of 1992 when Leno followed in the footsteps of legendary NBC late-night hosts Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Johnny Carson as “Tonight Show” host.
Prior to becoming host, Leno had been the exclusive guest host on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson” since September 1987. He first appeared as a guest on the show March 2, 1977, and he made numerous additional appearances on the show, as well as NBC’s former program “Late Night with David Letterman.”
Each year, he serves as Master of Ceremonies and does numerous benefit performances, including shows for those whose lives were devastated by the 9/11 tragedy, the tsunami in Thailand, hurricanes in the gulf, and the severe economic downturn in Detroit. He leads the annual Love Ride in California to benefit numerous humanitarian organizations serving people with autism, muscular dystrophy, and Special Olympics, among many others.
He has also served as honorary campaign chairman for several years for the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Hollywood’s charitable arm, and he has assisted the Gender Apartheid campaign led by wife Mavis together with the Feminist Majority, to free Afghan women of Taliban tyranny, an effort for which Mavis and The Feminist Majority were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. He is currently joining Mavis and The Feminists Majority Foundation in their efforts.
Leno has written children’s book, “If Roast Beef Could Fly,” (from Simon & Schuster) and “How to be the Funniest Kid In Your Class.” His also wrote “Leading with My Chin” (from HarperCollins).
He enjoys working on his collection of classic cars and motorcycles, and has built a number of cars, including an acclaimed eco-car in his eco-friendly green garage.
- Leading with My Chin