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Jay Leno

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Biography

James Douglas Muir "Jay" Leno (born April 28, 1950) is an Emmy-winning American comedian, writer who is best known as the current host of NBC television's long-running variety and talk program The Tonight Show.

Since becoming the host of the Tonight Show, Leno has made a number of cameo appearances, usually appearing as a talk show host or making fun of his famous chin. In 1993, Leno played the voice of the alien Vorb in the animated film We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story. In 1994, he played "Bedrock's Most Wanted Host," along with Cynthia Clemons, in the live-action comedy film The Flintstones. Also in 1994, he played himself in Major League II which starred Charlie Sheen.

He also made a cameo appearance for Fox NFL Sunday in a fictitious interview with prognosticator Frank Caliendo's impression of Terry Bradshaw. In 2006, he provided the voice of an armadillo named "Fast Tony" in Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, and in the Pixar/Disney film Cars he voiced "Jay Limo". He made a cameo appearance in an episode of TV sitcom Just Shoot Me!, in a fictitious interview with David Spade's character, Dennis Finch. He made at least one appearance on NBC's The West Wing playing himself at a California fundraiser for the president, Jed Bartlet. He has also appeared on Home Improvement as a mechanic in a wealthy car collector's garage (in reality his own collection).

In the 2005 trial of Michael Jackson over allegations of child molestation, Leno appeared as a defense witness (many celebrity defense witnesses had been expected, but Leno was one of the few who actually testified). As a witness in the case, Leno was initially not allowed to continue telling jokes about Jackson or the case, which had been a fixture of The Tonight Show's opening monologue in particular; however, he and his show's writers exploited a legal loophole by having Leno briefly step aside while stand-in comedians took the stage and told jokes regarding the trial. Stand-ins included Roseanne Barr, Drew Carey, Brad Garrett, and Dennis Miller, among others.

After NBC challenged the gag order, the judge permitted Leno to make jokes, as long as they were not related to his testimony. After the gag order was lifted, the next show featured a monologue entirely of Michael Jackson jokes.

In automobile collecting circles, Jay Leno is known as an avid student, collector and restorer of cars and motorcycles. He has a large antique car and motorcycle collection of under 3,000 various international marques. The collection spans from the early 1900's to the late 1960's. He constantly works on his collection in his spare time. The collection includes an original 1912 Stanley Steamer and a very rare 1964 Studebaker Avanti). He is also a promoter of the mechanical crafts through a column in Popular Mechanics and his educational activities.

In April 2007, Leno was criticized by The Sons of Confederate Veterans organization over a monologue joke he made during the Don Imus scandal. Leno stated; "They say is still working on raising funds for his favorite charity, the sons of the Confederacy." Sons of Confederate Veteran's Commander in Chief Christopher Sullivan responded to Leno's statement saying, "While it is regrettable that Mr. Imus made his racially charged and derogatory comments about the Rutgers ladies basketball team, it is equally offensive that Mr. Leno would attack Southerners the way he did".



 


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