Jay Leno Granted Conservatorship Over Wife Amid Worsening Dementia Diagnosis


After being married for 43 years, former late-night talk show host Jay Leno and his wife Mavis Elizabeth hit a rough patch as the latter got diagnosed with dementia. Following the tragic update, Fox News Digital confirmed that a Los Angeles judge has approved Leno as conservator over Mavis’ estate.

Documents obtained show that Leno filed the petition in January, stating that his wife “lacks the necessary capacity to execute the estate plan” due to “major neurocognitive disorders (including dementia).” “I think she’s in the least restrictive environment. I think she’s in very good care with Mr. Leno,” the judge reportedly said during the hearing.


Jay Leno granted conservatorship over wife with worsening dementia

11 March 2014 – Beverly Hills, California – Jay Leno, Mavis Leno. Arrivals for the Television Academy’s 23rd Annual Hall of Fame at The Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills. Photo Credit: Birdie Thompson/AdMedia

While several celebrity conservatorship matters are accompanied by strife and challenges, the Los Angeles judge seemed quite assured that Mavis and her assets are in safe hands. “Everything you’re doing is right. I totally understand this is a difficult period,” he told Leno. Celebrity attorney and partner at Walzer Melcher & Yoda, Christopher C. Melcher also explained the details of Leno’s petition.


RELATED: Lawyer Recommends Conservatorship As Jay Leno’s Wife’s Dementia Worsens

Melcher told Fox News Digital that Leno intends to protect his wife even in his absence— more specifically, his death. “Jay and Mavis have a living trust in a will, but that was created before she got dementia, and what Jay is concerned about is that he might die before she does, and somebody is going to need to take control of these things,” he told the outlet.

Jay Leno
at the NBC TCA Winter Press Tour, Langham Hotel, Pasadena, CA 01-09-18

The longtime couple married years after meeting at the Comedy Store in the mid-70s. Although they share no children, Leno and Mavis have birthed blossoming fondness for each other with Jay describing his marriage to Mavis as “loving” in his petition. He previously revealed the secret to his thriving union as “realizing there’s nothing really worth fighting about” during a 2019 Q&A interview with The Wall Street Journal. “You should marry the person you wish you could have been,” he quipped. “That’s a pretty good goal.”

Jay Leno, Marvis Leno
04/17/2014 HBO Premiere an exclusive presentation of “Billy Crystal 700 Sundays” held at Ray Kurtzman Theatre at CAA in Los Angeles, CA Photo by Izumi Hasegawa /

Leno also noted in his petition that he “has always handled the couple’s finances,” hence he is trying to make sure that she “has managed assets sufficient to provide for her care should Jay predecease Mavis.”

“So, he’s just trying to do that planning now, and he needs a court order to rearrange their affairs because she has dementia and doesn’t have capacity to agree to anything right now,” Melcher echoed.

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