Jay Leno timeline

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1973: Graduates from Boston's Emerson College with a degree in speech therapy.

1977: Makes his TV debut as a stand-up comic on "The Merv Griffin Show."

1977: Makes his first appearance on "The Tonight Show" as a comic.

1977: Appears as a regular on CBS' "The Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. Show."

Late 1970s: Goes on the road as the opening act for Johnny Mathis, Tom Jones and John Denver.

1982: Begins to appear on NBC's "The Late Show With David Letterman."

1987: Along with Garry Shandling, is anointed co-substitute host on "The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson." Shandling soon drops out to do his own cable TV show, leaving Leno as heir apparent.

1989: Publishes "Headlines: Real but Ridiculous Samplings From America's Newspapers."

1992: Takes the host's desk at "The Tonight Show Starring Jay Leno."

1999: Begins writing the column "Jay Leno's Garage" for Popular Mechanics.

2001: Along with his wife, Mavis, donates $100,000 to the Feminist Majority's campaign to stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan.

2001: Auctions off a Harley-Davidson motorcycle signed by his celebrity guests for about $360,000 to help victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Will do the same for victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

2004: Signs a new contract with NBC through 2009. Conan O'Brien will replace him after that.

2006: Becomes involved in developing biodiesel and the EcoJet concept car, a turbine-powered car in collaboration with GM.

2007-08: During the WGA strike, is accused of violating WGA guidelines by writing his own monologue for "The Tonight Show."

Dec. 8, 2008: Agrees to new deal with NBC for "The Jay Leno Show," a one-hour program at 10 p.m. five nights a week beginning September 2009.

May 29: Tapes the final episode as host of "The Tonight Show." Scheduled guests include Mel Gibson and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
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