James Douglas Muir Leno is an American television host, actor, and comedian. He is famous for hosting the popular television talk show called “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno”.
What is Jay Leno’s net worth?
At the time this article is written the famous Jay Leno has a net worth of $450 million. He is well-known for hosting “The Tonight Show” on NBC, but also for his stand-up shows. Jay Leno earned $320 million in salary, before taxes while he hosted “The Tonight Show”. Also, he has a very valuable car collection, that includes more than 300 vehicles worth $100 million.
Childhood and teenage years
Jay Leno was born on April 28, 1950, in New Rochelle, New York. His father worked as an insurance salesman and his mother stayed at home. Also, he had an older brother, named Patrick. They grew up in Andover, Massachusetts.
In 1968 Jay graduated from Andover High School and got his bachelor’s degree in speech therapy from Emerson College.
In 1973 Jay Leno started a comedy club at the university where he was studying.
Jay Leno began his career on a television show called “The Tonight Show” in March 1977. Over the next decade he would go on to appear in numerous television shows and films, including “Holmes & Yo-Yo”, “Good Times”, “Feminine Mistake”, “Fun with Dick and Jane”, “Late Night with David Letterman”, “American Hot Wax”, “One Day at a Time”, “Silver Bears” and others.
Jay Leno started hosting the “Tonight Show” in 1992 and after 17 successful years left the show in 2009 to host his own talk show “The Jay Leno Show”. However, it didn’t work out and the show was canceled within a year, with Leno returning to host his former show again in primetime.
In 2014, Jay Leno said goodbye to the viewers in a special edition of “The Tonight Show”, in which the famous presenter was honored by Billy Crystal and a host of stars, including Oprah Winfrey, Carol Burnett, Jack Black, and Kim Kardashian.
During the 22 years that he hosted “ The Tonight Show”, Jay Leno had famous guests – celebrities, politicians, athletes, and pop culture personalities. His famous guests have included Betty White, Tom Cruise, Hugh Grant, former New York State Governor Eliot Spitzer, First Lady Michelle Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and, more recently, Miley Cyrus.
His popularity as a TV host also led to several film appearances. He appeared as himself in films such as “In & Out”, “Dave”, “Space Cowboys”, “Wag the Dog”, “Stuck on You” and “Ted 2”. Leno also appeared on many television shows as a guest or in recurring roles. He has won several awards, including two Emmy Awards.
The interview with Hugh Grant that would ensure Jay Leno’s supremacy
Immediately after CBS chose Leno over then “Late Night” host David Letterman to replace Johnny Carson in 1992, the effect was noticeable, at least in terms of audiences. In 1995, “The Tonight Show” didn’t record spectacular numbers until it asked a most inspiring question. “What the hell were you thinking?” Leno asked Hugh Grant in the actor’s first public appearance immediately after his much-publicized arrest. “I think you know that in life you can do good things and you can do bad things, and now I’ve done a bad thing … and here’s the result,” Grant told him. The honest answer propelled Leno in front of Letterman, a position he would hold for more than a decade.
Jay Leno was earning a salary of $15 million per year at the end of his tenure as host of “The Tonight Show”, while his peak salary for this show was $30 million per year.
Jay also makes money from his stand-up shows, earning almost $10 million per year. What is interesting is that, during his career, Jay lived off his stand-up income and never spent his “Tonight Show” salary. Also, he doesn’t have a manager or agent and negotiates his deals himself. Below you will find Jay’s salary highlights between 1992 and 2013.
- 1992: $1 million
- 1993: $1 million
- 1994: $3 million
- 1995: $3 million
- 1996: $5 million
- 1997: $5 million
- 1998: $5 million
- 1999: $10 million
- 2000: $12 million
- 2001: $15 million
- 2002: $20 million
- 2003: $20 million
- 2004: $20 million
- 2005: $20 million
- 2006: $20 million
- 2007: $20 million
- 2008: $20 million
- 2009: $30 million
- 2010: $30 million
- 2011: $25 million
- 2012: $15 million
- 2013: $15 million
Total career income: $320 million
Jay Leno paid $13.5 million in 2017 for an oceanfront house in Newport, Rhode Island.
Jay also has two houses in Bel Air, California, and a 122,000-square-foot hangar in Burbank, California, which served as a garage for his vehicle collection.
Jay Leno’s love for cars started in his youth when he was working in 1967 as a car dealer. His first car was a 1934 Ford pickup. Today, Leno is recognized as one of the largest collectors of classic cars in the United States. He has invested over time in automobiles: vintage, super sports, luxury, or newer eco-friendly sedans, as well as motorcycles, many of which are unique.
In his garage in Burbank – California, spread over more than 1500 square meters and which Jay Leno calls “Big Dog”, around 280 cars and motorcycles are lined up, most of them in perfect working order. However, it is not a museum, Jay Leno points out, who is a passionate driver and can often be seen behind the wheel of four-wheeled jewelry that he has collected over the years.
Jay Leno’s “favorites” include a 1909 Stanley Steamer, a 1909 Baker, a 1600hp Blastolene Special (or Tank Car), a Bugatti Atlantique, Duesenberg – various models, a Chrysler Turbine, a Rolls Royce Phantom II with a V12 engine 1000HP, a Buick Roadmaster, an Oldsmobile Toronado with 1000HP V8 engine, a Fiat Topolino model 1937, a Lamborghini Countach model 1986, a Porsche Carrera GT, a Bugatti Veyron, a GM EcoJet concept car, a Pagani Huayra and recently a Lamborghini 350GT and a Lamborghini R485 tractor were added to the collection.
Jay Leno married Mavis Leno in 1980 and mutually decided not to have children. The couple has been involved in numerous philanthropic works over the years. He lost his mother in 1993 while hosting the first season of “The Tonight Show,” and a year later his father died at the age of 84. Leno also had a brother, Patrick Leno, a Vietnam veteran who died in 2003 of cancer.
Leno described himself as someone who doesn’t drink, smoke, or gamble. According to him, he is a “dyslexic” and only requires four to five hours of sleep every day. He is crazy about engines and has a collection of more than 280 vehicles in his garage.