Jay Leno Net Worth & Biography

By Mixxerly Updated: SEPTEMBER 22, 2021

Introduction

NET WORTH

$500M

Jay Leno is an American comedian, actor, writer, producer, and former late-night television host. After doing stand-up comedy for years, he became the host of NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992 to 2009. Beginning in September 2009, Leno started a primetime talk show, titled The Jay Leno Show, which aired weeknights at 10:00pm ET, also on NBC.

After The Jay Leno Show was canceled in January 2010 amid a host controversy, Leno returned to host The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on March 1, 2010. He hosted his last episode of The Tonight Show on February 6, 2014. That year, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame. Since 2014, Leno has hosted Jay Leno's Garage. As of , Jay Leno has an estimated net worth of about $500M.

At a Glance

Full name: James Douglas Muir Leno

Other names: Jay Leno

Birthday: April 28, 1950

Age:

Net worth: $500M

Occupation: Comedian, Actor, Writer, Producer, Late-night TV Host.

Nationality: United States of America.

Net Worth

Jay Leno is one of the insanely rich celebrities in the world and he is the richest comedian. Jay Leno generously donates his wealth to many great causes. In 2001, he and his wife donated $100,000 to the Feminist Majority Foundation's campaign to stop gender apartheid in Afghanistan, to educate the public regarding the plight of women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule. Mavis Leno is on the board of the Feminist Majority.

In 2009, he donated $100,000 to a scholarship fund at Salem State College (now Salem State University) in honor of Lennie Sogoloff, who gave Leno his start at his jazz club, Lennie's-on-the-Turnpike. In August 2012, Leno auctioned his Fiat 500, which was sold for $385,000 with all the proceeds going to a charity that helps wounded war veterans recover by providing them with temporary housing.

Since 1985, Leno has been the Grand Marshal for the Love Ride, a motorcycle charity event which since its founding in 1984 has raised nearly $14 million for charities benefiting muscular dystrophy research, Autism Speaks, and in 2001, the September 11 attacks recovery. As of , Jay Leno has an estimated net worth of about $500M.

Early Life

Leno was born April 28, 1950, in New Rochelle, New York. His homemaker mother, Catherine (née Muir; 1911–1993), was born in Greenock, Scotland, and came to the United States at age 11. His father, Angelo (1910–1994), was an insurance salesman who was born in New York, to immigrants from Flumeri, Italy.

Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, and graduated from Andover High School. Leno obtained a bachelor's degree in speech therapy from Emerson College, where he started a comedy club in 1973. His older brother, Patrick (May 12, 1940 – October 6, 2002), was a Vietnam War veteran who worked as an attorney.

Vehicle collection

Leno owns approximately 286 vehicles (169 cars and 117 motorbikes). He also has a website and a TV program called Jay Leno's Garage, which contains video clips and photos of his car collection in detail, as well as other vehicles of interest to him.

Leno's Garage Manager is Bernard Juchli. Among his collection are two Doble steam cars, a sedan and a roadster that were owned by Howard Hughes, the fifth Duesenberg Model X known to survive, and one of nine remaining 1963 Chrysler Turbine Cars. The collection also includes three antique electric cars — the 1925 Baker Motor Vehicle is his wife Mavis' favorite car.

He has a regular column in Popular Mechanics which showcases his car collection and gives advice about various automotive topics, including restoration and unique models, such as his jet-powered motorcycle and solar-powered hybrid. Leno also writes occasional "Motormouth" articles for The Sunday Times, reviewing high-end sports cars and giving his humorous take on motoring matters.

Leno opened his garage to Team Bondi, the company that developed the 2011 video game L.A. Noire, which is set in Los Angeles in the late-1940s. Leno's collection contains almost one hundred cars from this period, and allowed the team to recreate their images as accurately as possible.

Favorite Quotes from Jay Leno

“Now, today is the day we honor, of course, the Presidents, ranging from George Washington, who couldn’t tell a lie, to George Bush, who couldn’t tell the truth, to Bill Clinton, who couldn’t tell the difference.” – Jay Leno
“With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, “Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?” – Jay Leno
“For the first time ever, overweight people outnumber average people in America. Doesn’t that make overweight the average then? Last month you were fat, now you’re average – hey, let’s get a pizza!” – Jay Leno
“Major league baseball has asked its players to stop tossing baseballs into the stands during games because they say fans fight over them and they get hurt. In fact, the Florida Marlins said that’s why they never hit any home runs. It’s a safety issue.” – Jay Leno
“Scientists are complaining that the new Dinosaur movie shows dinosaurs with lemurs, who didn’t evolve for another million years. They’re afraid the movie will give kids a mistaken impression. What about the fact that the dinosaurs are singing and dancing?” – Jay Leno

Career

Leno made his first appearance on The Tonight Show on March 2, 1977, performing a comedy routine. During the 1970s, Leno appeared in minor roles in many television series and films, first in the 1976 episode "J.J. in Trouble" of Good Times and the same year in the pilot of Holmes & Yo-Yo. After an uncredited appearance in the 1977 film Fun with Dick and Jane, he played more prominent roles in 1978 in American Hot Wax and Silver Bears.

Other films and television series from that period include Almost Heaven (1978), "Going Nowhere" (1979) from One Day at a Time, Americathon (1979), Polyester (1981), "The Wild One" (1981) from Alice, and both "Feminine Mistake" (1979) and "Do the Carmine" (1983) from Laverne & Shirley. Leno's only starring film role was the 1989 direct-to-video Collision Course, opposite Pat Morita. He also appeared numerous times on Late Night with David Letterman. In addition, Leno appeared on three weeks' worth of episodes of the short-lived NBC game show Match Game-Hollywood Squares Hour in 1983 and 1984.

The Tonight Show

Starting in 1986, Leno was a regular substitute host for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. In 1992, he replaced Carson as host amid controversy with David Letterman, who had been hosting Late Night with David Letterman since 1982 (aired after The Tonight Show), and whom many—including Carson himself—had expected to be Carson's successor. The story of this turbulent transition was later turned into a book and a movie. Leno continued to perform as a stand-up comedian throughout his tenure on The Tonight Show.

In 2004, Leno signed a contract extension with NBC which would keep him as host of The Tonight Show until 2009. Later in 2004, Conan O'Brien signed a contract with NBC under which O'Brien would become the host of The Tonight Show in 2009, replacing Leno at that time.

During the 2007–08 Writers Guild of America strike, Leno was accused of violating WGA guidelines by writing his own monologue for The Tonight Show. While NBC and Leno claim there were private meetings with the WGA where there was a secret agreement allowing this, the WGA denied such a meeting. Leno answered questions in front of the Writers Guild of America, West trial committee in February 2009 and June 2009, and when the WGAW published its list of strike-breakers on August 11, 2009, Leno was not on the list.

On April 23, 2009, Leno checked himself into a hospital with an undisclosed illness. He was released the following day and returned to work on Monday, April 27. The two subsequently canceled Tonight Show episodes for April 23 and 24 were Leno's first in 17 years as host. Initially, the illness that caused the absence was not disclosed, but later Leno told People magazine it was for exhaustion.