Jay Leno receives Sarasota Film Festival career achievement award
Sarasota Film Festival added another star to this year's list of celebrity honorees when it presented comedian and longtime "The Tonight Show" host Jay Leno with the festival's Career Achievement Award.
Leno received the award Tuesday night when he was in town performing at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. He joins this year's other award recipients including Emmy-nominated "Touched by an Angel" actress Roma Downey, who will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award and produced the movie "On a Wing and a Prayer" that serves as the festival's closing film, and Grammy-winning folk duo Indigo Girls, who will receive the Maestro Award and are the subject of the documentary "It's Only Life After All" screening at the festival.
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Leno is best known as the host of "The Tonight Show" from 1992 to 2009, then 2010 to 2014, winning an Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series for the show in 1995. The evening after his final "Tonight Show" episode, which aired on Feb. 6, 2014, Leno performed at Van Wezel, a venue he's visited numerous times since.
Leno has also appeared in several movies, mostly playing himself as the host of "The Tonight Show." He also co-starred alongside Pat Morita in the 1989 action-comedy "Collision Course" and acted in the 1977 British crime comedy "Silver Bears" with Michael Caine and Cybill Shepherd.
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Along with continuing to perform stand-up, Leno has in recent years hosted the series "Jay Leno's Garage" (which earned him his second Emmy) as well as a revival of the comedy quiz series "You Bet Your Life." He also continues to recover from a recent gasoline accident that left him with serious burns on his face, neck and chest, and a motorcycle accident in which he broke several bones.
This year's Sarasota Film Festival concludes Sunday with the closing screening and awards ceremony at Sarasota Opera House. Other remaining events include a disco street party Friday in Sarasota's Rosemary District and an "In Conversation With" luncheon with Downey on Saturday at downtown Sarasota's Bijou Garden Cafe. For more information, visit sarasotafilmfestival.com.
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This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Jay Leno receives Sarasota Film Festival career achievement award