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Actor

Jay
Leno

Jay Leno began his career in night clubs, where he worked 300 nights a year before hitting it big in 1992 with his own late-night talk show, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992). By that time he had appeared on television, acted in a few films such as American Hot Wax but hit paydirt with his late-night television appearances: he made a record number of visits to Late Night with David Letterman and served as Johnny Carson’s permanent guest host on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. A big, sweet guy with a very good comedy routine, he vied with David Letterman to inherit Carson’s seat when Johnny retired in 1992. His victory was well-publicized, but empty, though he did gain a measure of revenge when his show beat Letterman’s for the Emmy in 1995. On April 3, 2013, NBC announced that Leno would leave The Tonight Show in spring 2014, with Jimmy Fallon as his designated successor. Leno’s final show as the host of The Tonight Show was on February 6, 2014 with his final guest Billy Crystal and musical guest Garth Brooks, along with a few surprise guests including Jack Black, Kim Kardashian, Jim Parsons, Sheryl Crow, Chris Paul, Carol Burnett, and Oprah Winfrey.