Mavis Leno

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Mavis Leno
Leno with her husband Jay Leno, President Ronald Reagan and First Lady Nancy Reagan in 1987
Mavis Elizabeth Nicholson

(1946-09-05) September 5, 1946 (age 77)
San Francisco, California, United States
(m. 1980)

Mavis Elizabeth Nicholson Leno (born September 5, 1946)[1] is an American philanthropist and wife of Jay Leno, the former host of The Tonight Show.[2]

A leading feminist in California,[3] in the United States as a whole, and internationally, Leno keeps a low profile in comparison to her husband, choosing instead to work behind the scenes of the non-profit, politically charged groups she supports and runs.[4]

Leno has been the chair of the Feminist Majority Foundation's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan since 1997.[2] In 1999, Leno and her husband donated $100,000 to the organization, to further the cause of educating the public about the plight of Afghan women under the Taliban.[5] The organization successfully protested the construction of an oil pipeline through Afghanistan, which could potentially have brought in billions of dollars to the Taliban.[6][7] According to Melissa Rossi,[8] Leno was a driving force in changing the opinion of U.S. President Bill Clinton and the executives of the now defunct oil company Unocal Corporation concerning the Taliban, after Leno had shed light on the group's treatment of women.[8]


  1. ^ CA Births 1905-1995
  2. ^ a b "Mavis Leno: Lives of Afghan Women". CNN. November 9, 2001.
  3. ^ "About Campaign". Feminist Majority Foundation.
  4. ^ "Hollywood's Latest Cause: Can A Pack Of Celebrities Save Afghanistan's Women?". Newsweek. December 6, 1999.
  5. ^ "So Many Causes, So Little Time". Newsweek. February 21, 2000.
  6. ^ Sylvester, Sherri (November 21, 2001). "Jay and Mavis Leno Stay Active in War Effort". Showbiz Today. CNN.
  7. ^ Mills, Kimberly (April 10, 2002). "Mavis Leno voice for silenced women". Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
  8. ^ a b Rossi, Melissa L. (2003). What Every American Should Know About the Rest of the World: Your Guide to Today's Hot Spots, Hot Shots and Incendiary Issues. Plume. ISBN 0-452-28405-8.