Tonight Show’s Funnyman Jay Leno is Dyslexic?


Jay LenoFunnyman Jay Leno is a talk show host and comedian, loved by millions of American viewers since his debut on the comedy circuit in the 1970s. Leno rose to fame with cameo appearances in films and two hit talk shows: “The Jay Leno Show”, and “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.”

His face is universally recognized, and his controversial private life is constantly appearing in supermarket tabloids and on entertainment news. Yet unbeknownst by most, Leno has struggled with the learning disorder, dyslexia, since childhood.

Dyslexia affects approximately ten percent of the population, and is defined by The World Federation of Neurology as “a disorder manifested by difficulty in learning to read despite conventional instruction, adequate intelligence and sociocultural opportunity.” Dyslexics may struggle with pronunciation of words, spelling, and reading comprehension. Though Leno battled with this disorder throughout his young life, he endeavored and became a top performer.

He joins the ranks of the multiple A list celebrities who have persevered through this disorder, and share their success stories with the world.

Learn about Other Famous People With Dyslexia

Born James Douglas Muir Leno in 1950,Jay  Leno’s father was an insurance salesman and his mother stayed at home to take care of her two sons. He went to primary school in Andover, Massachusetts, where he was chastised for poor grades and fought to graduate his senior year. Jay Leno’s 5th grade teacher reported, “If Jay spent as much time studying as he does trying to be a comedian, he’d be a big star.” Still, he managed to finish high school and aspired to attend the prestigious Emerson College in Boston.

Leno’s initial application to the college was denied, so he spent his weekdays camped out in front of the admissions office. Emerson administrators finally recognized his unfaltering perseverance, and granted him his desired eduction. Jay Leno graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in speech therapy, proving his skeptics wrong.

Jay Leno started his own comedy club while at Emerson in 1973. He began working the club circuit in Boston in New York, rumored to have performed on over 300 occasions annually. Jay Leno auditioned and was granted bit parts on popular sitcoms and movies, before landing his dream role of Johnny Carson’s substitute host on “The Tonight Show.” He eventually replaced Carson all together in 1992, only to be replaced by fellow comedian Conan O’Brien in 2009.

Jay Leno debuted his own prime time talk show, titled “The Jay Leno Show” later that year; featuring the most popular celebrities and political figures. Despite its content, “The Jay Leno Show” lost viewership and was cancelled due to an erratic time slot. However, O’Brien left “The Tonight Show” in 2010, handing the coveted hosting spot back to Jay Leno, where he continues to make viewers laugh to this day.

Though his childhood education was difficult, Jay persevered through his dyslexia and became one of the most popular celebrities in mainstream media. He currently lives in luxury with a successful television show and a happy marriage. Leno has refused to let his disorder define him, or the discouragement from elementary school teachers and college administrators deter his plans.

Jay is a shining example for the millions of Americans suffering from dyslexia that a difficulty is not a death sentence. With drive and support, dyslexics can make it through their fight with reading. Jay Leno now hosts Leno’s Garage.

Other Resources On Dyslexia:

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