Jay Leno to get Harvard Hasty pudding award

Mon Jan 24, 2011 5:16pm EST
 
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BOSTON (Reuters) - It's been an up and down few years for comedian Jay Leno, but the comedian and talk show host got some good news on Monday when he was dubbed "Man of the Year" by Harvard's Hasty Pudding Club.

Leno, 60, joins actress Julianne Moore who was recently chosen as Woman of the Year by the club, the oldest college drama group in the United States.

The host of NBC's "The Tonight Show" was cited for being a "television icon and dedicated live performer." He will be roasted at a theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Feb 4.

Leno was replaced on "The Tonight Show" by Conan O'Brien in June 2009, only to return to the show in March 2010 after months of bitter contract disputes between O'Brien and the network.

Born in New Rochelle, New York, Leno grew up in Andover, Massachusetts, and started in standup comedy while a student in speech therapy at Emerson College in Boston. He became the regular host of The Tonight Show in 1992.

The Man and Woman of the Year awards are presented annually to performers who have made a lasting contribution to the world of entertainment.

Past winners include Justin Timberlake, Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg and Leno's Tonight Show predecessor Johnny Carson. Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster and Elizabeth Taylor are among the female winners.

The Hasty Pudding Club was formed in 1795 by a group of Harvard students who pledged that members "shall provide a pot of hasty pudding for every meeting."

The club has staged a student-written comedy revue each year since 1844 with the exception of during the World Wars.

(Reporting by Ros Krasny; Editing by Patricia Reaney)

 
<p>Host Jay Leno smiles during a panel for his upcoming television series "The Jay Leno Show" at the Television Critics Association Cable summer press tour in Pasadena, California August 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni</p>