Net Worth $250 Million
Popular television show host and comedian Jay Leno has an estimated net worth of $250 million and a regular annual income of $15 million. The comedian earns mostly from his The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC although analysts estimate he could be making an extra $20 million from stand-up comedy tours in the USA. By 2010, Forbes estimates that his show attracted an audience of over 4 million people aged 18 – 49 making him one of the most popular TV hosts in America.
Jay was born as James Douglas Muir Leno in 1950 in New Rochelle., He started his career by taking up acts in night clubs before breaking into television on 2nd March 1977 for his maiden The Tonight Show. His mother migrated from Greenock, Scotland when she was 11 while his father is a New Yorker of Italian descent. He spent his formative years in Andover, Massachusetts and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Therapy despite his primary school teacher recommending that he drops out of school. He launched into comedy in 1973. Due to his ability to attract larger viewership, Jay was given first priority as a substitute to Johnny Carson ahead of David Letterman on the NBC late night program.
He eventually took over permanently from Carson in 1992 and it is estimated that he made $1million that year. By 1994, his earnings from the TV show alone had tripled to $3 million. In 2009 when he first retired from television, the comedian was worth more than $22 million. However, he surprised the world when he rescinded his decision to quit television by making a triumphant comeback at NBC, amid mixed reactions from fans, by taking over from Conan O’Brien who had earlier on replaced him. Upon his return in 2010, he increased his earnings to $24 million through a revamped Tonight Show. However, 2012 saw his annual income dwindle to $15 million.
Unlike most showbiz personalities who invest in businesses, Jay Leno opted to put his money into his hobby of collecting antique cars and motorcycles. He currently boasts of a collection of 90 bikes and over 100 cars all valued at approximately $50 million. He writes about automobiles on his blog jaylenosgarage.com. After 22 years in the media and entertainment industry, Jay Leno would officially retire from NBC in the spring of 2014 and give way to his successor Jimmy Fallon. He married Mavis Leno in 1980 but they have no children. Some of his earnings are directed to the campaign to fight against gender apartheid in Afghanistan through Feminist Majority.