Family & Companions
A genial comedian who skewered the contradictions of everyday life, Jay Leno's everyman persona and tireless work ethic helped him to earn one of the most sacred spots on television, replacing Johnny Carson as host of "The Tonight Show" (NBC, 1954- ). But his ascension to Carson's throne in 1993 earned him considerable spite from David Letterman - who was long considered to be the heir apparent - as both feuded behind the scenes and in public in the so-called Late Night Wars. Leno soared in the ratings while his "Tonight Show" was the most-watched show at 11:30 p.m. Meanwhile, Leno continued cultivating his everyman image by showcasing his love of cars and motorcycles, amassing a collection that totaled some 190 vehicles, and continuing to perform stand-up across the country on his days off. In 2008, NBC shockingly announced that Leno would be replaced as "Tonight Show" host by Conan O'Brien, and in an unprecedented move, Leno revamped his show for a 10 p.m. timeslot. A short time later, Leno would return to his customary timeslot as one of the mainstays of late-night programming.
Cast (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Special Thanks (Special)
Misc. Crew (Special)
Moved to Los Angeles
Made first appearance on "The Tonight Show" (NBC)
First notable film appearance, "Silver Bears"
Regularly appeared on short-lived CBS variety series "The Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. Show"
Named one of two permanent guest hosts of "The Tonight Show"
Hosted and produced first hour-long comedy special "Jay Leno and the American Dream" (Showtime)
Played sold-out engagement at Carnegie Hall
Signed exclusive contract with NBC
Named exclusive guest host of "The Tonight Show"
Landed most prominent film role in "Collision Course," playing a detective opposite Pat Morita
Announced to replace Johnny Carson as host of "The Tonight Show" (NBC) after the latter retired May 1992
Hosted "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC)
Signed five-year $40 million contract with NBC to continuing hosting "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno"
Signed five-year contract extension with NBC for reported $100 million
Received star on Hollywood Walk of Fame
Extended contract to host "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" (NBC) through 2005
Signed new deal with NBC worth $100 million that kept him at helm of "The Tonight Show" through 2009
Lent his voice to a talking fire hydrant in animated feature "Robots"
Voiced 'Jay Limo' in Disney/Pixar film "Cars"
Lent voice to animated feature "Igor"
Left "The Tonight Show" after 16 years; handed show over publicly to successor Conan O'Brien
Hosted primetime talk series "The Jay Leno Show" on NBC; show canceled after four months due to low ratings and outrage from NBC affiliates across the country; considered one of the biggest programming fiascos in TV history
Reinstated as host of "The Tonight Show" following Conan O'Brien's exit from NBC after his refusal to allow his "Tonight Show" to be bumped to midnight in favor of Leno being moved back to 11:30 p.m.
Guest starred on FX sitcom "Louie"
Jimmy Fallon announced as his replacement to host "The Tonight Show" beginning spring 2014