A month after the terrible accident which caused him significant burns to the face, chest and hands, Jay Leno wanted to return to the course of events. The former Tonight Show host confided in an interview with People magazine and published on Tuesday, December 13. He thus explained that as a great car enthusiast, he knew what he was exposing himself to. “When you work with cars, you have a lot of accidents,” he admitted.
On November 12, Jay Leno was in his garage with his longtime friend, Dave Killackey. The two men were working on his white steam car, dating from 1907. A special vehicle, as the 72-year-old explained: “With a steam car, you have gasoline, but you also have a vaporizer that is heated by a pilot light to turn water into vapor”.
Jay Leno was saved by his friend Dave Killackey
Regarding the course of his accident, Jay Leno remembers precisely what happened to him. He told People that he was under his car, his face full of gas, before he realized how “close to the pilot light” he was. Before he could do anything, a spark reacted with the gas and his face instantly burst into flames.
Very lucid about this terrible moment, the famous presenter thus described with emotion: “It was exactly as if my face was on fire. Perhaps like the most intense sunburn you have ever had (…) I’m not a panicked guy, but I knew if I breathed I could burn my lungs.” For about ten seconds, Jay Leno was stuck under his car, holding his breath, before his friend managed to extract him and smother his face in his work shirt.
The host received a huge outpouring of support at the hospital
Once at the Grossman Center, Jay Leno, who had suffered major burns, particularly to the face, received two skin grafts. His doctor, who explained that his burns were deeper than expected, also confided that his friend’s gesture had allowed him to avoid losing his eye. A real relief for the American comedian who, however, refused to take painkillers. “Pain is a reminder that I’m an idiot,” he said.
Eventually, Jay Leno was able to rely on his wife, Mavis, for the duration of his hospital stay, and also received an outpouring of support from several celebrities. “Travolta sent me a big Italian basket, Tom Selleck sent flowers and Russell Crowe called from Australia. I’ve been in this business for a long time and to feel that love was really touching,” he said. A real outpouring of generosity for the man who is already back in his garage, while being a little more cautious than before.
Jay Leno © STELLA PICTURES