ID == 26795 || $post->ID == 26795 || $post->ID == 26795) { echo ''; } ?>

Jay Leno is best known as the comic host of The Tonight Show, which he anchored from 1992 to 2009, and rejoined again in 2010.

What is less well-known is that he struggled to read and write as a child for years due to his dyslexia.

Leno was born in New York City in 1950 but grew up outside of Boston. From an early age, school was a battle. Jay constantly struggled with spelling and reading problems. His fifth grade teacher said, ironically, “If Jay spent as much time studying as he does trying to be a comedian, he’d be a big star.”

Despite her and others’ doubts, Leno applied himself in school and fought to graduate, despite his guidance counsellor recommending that he drop-out of school altogether! After successfully receiving his diploma, Leno set his sights on university. Although initially rejected from Emerson College, Leno loitered in front of the admissions office door until they eventually agreed to allow him to attend. He graduated from Emerson with a degree in speech therapy a few years later.

Leno began performing publicly at university. He sharpened his comedic chops through stand-up gigs at clubs in Boston and New York, and eventually garnered the attention of the television industry, appearing in sitcoms and the occasional film.

His won his dream of replacing Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show in 1992, where he continues to interview prominent politicians and Hollywood stars to this day.

He has been reported to say that his childhood dyslexia gave him a reason to persevere in pursuing what others called impossible goals for the rest of his life. Turns out the skeptics were wrong!


Sarah Forrest is a Program Coach for the Easyread System, an online phonics course specially designed to provide children with dyslexia, auditory processing disorder and highly visual learning styles the support for spelling and reading problems they need in order to reach their full potential. Believe it or not, she has never watched The Tonight Show all the way through.