Jay Leno's net worth: The Tonight Show salary, car collection, fortune

Jay Leno's net worth: The Tonight Show salary, car collection, fortune

Curiosity often surrounds the fortunes of celebrities, and Jay Leno is no exception. The former Tonight Show host has cemented himself as a comedy icon, from stand-up gigs to late-night laughs. But then, his financial savvy extends beyond the realm of comedy. So, what is Jay Leno's net worth?

Jay Leno at Boca Raton Resort & Club
Jay Leno at a press conference ahead of the 13th Annual Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance at Boca Raton Resort & Club. Photo: Johnny Louis, Andrew J Cunningham (modified by author)
Source: Getty Images


Jay Leno is an American actor, comedian, writer, stand-up comedian, TV presenter, voice-over artist, and vehicle collector. He gained popularity for his observational humour and witty monologues on NBC's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno from 1992 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2014. He earns more than any host that has graced the show.

Profile summary

Full nameJames Douglas Muir Leno
NicknameJay Leno
Date of birth28 April 1950
Age73 years old (as of March 2024)
Zodiac signTaurus
Place of birthNew Rochelle, New York, United States
Height5'11' (180 cm)
Weight90 kg (198 lbs)
MotherCatherine Leno
FatherAngelo Leno
Marital statusMarried
WifeMavis Nicholson
SchoolAndover High School
University/collegeBS Speech Therapy (Emerson College)
ProfessionActor, writer, television producer, screenwriter, voice actor, stand-up comedian, television presenter, comedian
Net worth$450 million
Social media handleInstagram, YouTube

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How much is Jay Leno worth?

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Wealth Gorilla, and Sportkeeda, Jay Leno's net worth in 2024 is $450 million. He is among the richest comedians in the world, although his net worth is the same as that of iconic comedian Kevin Hart.

Jay's net worth can be estimated at half a billion if his assets and investments are considered. Below is a breakdown of his source of wealth and assets.

Jay Leno's facts
Fast facts on Jay Leno. Photo: Paul Morigi on Getty Images (modified by author)
Source: Original

Television presenter/host career

On 2 March 1977, he first appeared on the NBC show The Tonight Show. He later became a guest host for Johnny Carson in 1986. Many people thought Letterman would succeed after Carson because of his long-lasting career with them, but Leno took the position in 1992. This prompted the former to go to CBS.

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Despite the feud, the TV presenter has made few appearances on Late Night With David Letterman. He worked for NBC for two decades with massive views and income. He was a favourite in many American households due to his humour and friendly lifestyle. He had also featured and anchored a few other shows, including

  • The Jay Leno Show
  • You Bet Your Life
  • Jay Leno's Garage on CNBC
  • Late Night with Seth Meyers
  • Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

Acting career

Leno has also cashed out from acting in films and television shows. During the 1970s, he took minor roles in movies and TV shows like One Day at a Time. Other movies and series he has made appearances in include:

  • Fun With Dick and Jane
  • Good Times
  • Collision Course
  • Teddy Bears' Picnic
  • The Muppets

Stand up comedy

The TV host started his career as a stand-up comedian in the 1970s. He established a comedy club in 1974 at Emerson College and played at clubs and universities in America to earn a living.

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Since Jay Leno retired from The Tonight Show, he has focused on stand-up comedy and has retained an effective schedule as a touring stand-up comedian.

Writing career

Leno has written a few books and made sales with them. He frequently contributes articles on automotive subjects to Popular Mechanics and reviews sports cars for The Sunday Times. Below are some of Jay Leno's books:

  • Jay Leno's Headlines: Real but Ridiculous Headlines from America's Newspapers (Books I, II, & III)
  • Jay Leno: If Roast Beef Could Fly
  • Leading With My Chin by Jay Leno
  • How to Be the Funniest Kid in the Whole Wide World (or Just in Your Class)


The former presenter owns ten stocks in his investment portfolio valued at $13 million. These stocks cut across companies like Netflix, Amazon, Qualcomm, Let's Take, and Tesla.

Jay Leno and Mavis Leno Little Beach House Malibu
Jay Leno and Mavis Leno at the private unveiling of the Meyers Manx electric automobile at Little Beach House Malibu. Photo: Michael Tullberg
Source: Getty Images

Brand endorsements

The Mark Twain Prize for American Humour winner is also an ambassador for brands. He makes millions from these deals. For example, in 1996, he appeared in a commercial for Doritos during the Super Bowl.

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Leno's philanthropic efforts have made a significant impact across multiple causes. In 2001, he and his wife donated $100,000 to the Feminist Majority Foundation's campaign to combat gender apartheid in Afghanistan. Other charitable donations include $100,000 to a scholarship fund at Salem State University in honour of his mentor, Lennie Sogoloff.

Jay Leno's house

The comedian boasts a diverse real estate portfolio spanning America, with over 14 properties under his ownership. Among his notable properties are two residences on opposite coasts: one in Beverly Hills, California, and the other in Newport, Rhode Island, which he acquired for $13.5 million in 2017.

How much does Jay Leno make a year?

His annual income totals more than $20 million. His earnings stem from various sources, including a $15 million salary from The Tonight Show at the end of his tenure, $10 million from stand-up tours, and $5 million from endorsement deals.

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Jay Leno's Tonight Show salary

His annual earnings from The Tonight Show reached $15–20 million. His 22-year tenure as the show host culminates in $320 million. He concluded his tenure with an annual income of $15 million, down from a peak of $30 million.

He accepted a 50% reduction in 2011 to support his staff. Here is a run-through of his salary earnings throughout the years:

1992/1993$1 million
1994/1995$3 million
1996/1998$5 million
1999$10 million
2000 $12 million
2001$15 million
2002-2008$20 million
2009-2010$30 million
2011$25 million
2012-2013$15 million

How many cars does Jay Leno actually own?

He owns over 300 vehicles; his collection comprises over 180 cars and more than 160 motorcycles. Jay Leno's car collection includes:

Jay Leno displayed an award
Jay displayed an award for Jay Leno's Garage. Photo: NBC
Source: Getty Images
  • 1934 Duesenberg Walker Coupe
  • Audi RS Q8
  • Mercedes-Benz G-Class
  • 2017 Ford GT
  • Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
  • 2011 Audi R8 V10 Spyder
  • Lamborghini Miura
  • 1909 Baker Electric

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His favourite vehicle is the 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 Kompressor. He showcases vehicle collections and hunts on his YouTube channel, Jay Leno's Garage.

What is Jay Leno's most valuable car?

Due to its rarity, McLaren F1 is the presenter's prized possession, valued at $17 million and limited to three at McLaren Headquarters. He bought it for $800,000.

Jay Leno's net worth ranks him among the big boys in show business. His career of over 60 years has gained him not just fame but substantial wealth and unmatched assets.

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Favour Adeaga (Lifestyle writer) Dr. Favour Adeaga is an author, speaker, and coach. He graduated with a degree in Mass Communication from The Polytechnic, Ibadan, Nigeria. He did his internship at The Nation Newspaper and taught diploma students in Newspaper and Magazine courses at the Nasarawa State University, Keffi. He has curated the facts and life hacks category since 2018. Dr Favour is the author of several books available on Amazon. He currently lives in Nigeria. Email: favouradeaga@gmail.com