Jay Leno’s wife has trouble recognizing him amid dementia battle, lawyer recommends conservatorship

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In January, veteran comedian and retired talk show host Jay Leno filed for conservatorship over his wife Mavis’ estate, a decision he deferred out of respect for his longtime bride who is battling dementia.

Fox News Digital obtained new documents filed by Mavis’ court-appointed council, Ronald E. Ostrin, which noted her current condition. Ostrin consulted with her neurologist, Dr. Hart Cohen, who shared that in addition to having advanced dementia, Mavis “sometimes does not know her husband Jay, nor her date of birth.”

“She has a lot of disorientation, will ruminate about her parents who have both passed and her mother who died about 20 years ago,” it reads.

JAY LENO FILED FOR CONSERVATORSHIP FOR ‘PROTECTION’ OF WIFE’S ESTATE DUE TO HER DEMENTIA DIAGNOSIS: EXPERT

Mavis Leno in a peach colored vest and light turquoise blouse and pink pants smiles with Jay Leno in a black suit, jeans and blue shirt on the carpet

Jay Leno and his wife Mavis celebrated the 60th anniversary of The Improv in November 2023, two months prior to Leno filing for conservatorship of his wife’s estate. (Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Following a car accident in 2018, Mavis consulted with Cohen, whom she still sees now. “According to Dr. Cohen,” Ostrin writes, “Mr. Leno loves his wife very much, and waited to bring this matter out of respect to her. He said that Mr. Leno was ‘such a nice man and treats [Mavis] like gold.’”

The couple has been married since 1980, having met at the Comedy Store in the ’70s.

Ostrin also detailed his own experience with Mavis, 77, whom he spoke with directly in her shared home with Leno. “Ms. Leno was a delightful person, and although it was clear she had cognitive impairment, she still has a charming personality and could communicate,” he wrote.

Mavis Leno looks lovingly up at Jay Leno in a bright blue shirt

Jay Leno and his wife Mavis married in 1980. They have no children together. (Michael Tullberg/Getty Images)

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“She expressed a desire to vote and told me a little about her philanthropic work. She reposed great faith and confidence in Mr. Leno and relied on him for her protection and guidance.”

Ostrin also expanded on why Leno was not filing for conservatorship of her person, but solely her estate. “One question the Court may have is why not seek a conservatorship over her person. I asked of this with Dr. Hart Cohen and [Leno’s] attorneys. Dr. Cohen stated that Mavis is already being prescribed medications for the care and treatment of major neurocognitive disorders (including dementia), and that those can continue to be prescribed without an order or personal conservatorship at this time,” he explained. 

Jay Leno in a blue blazer smiles on the carpet with wife Mavis

Jay Leno only filed for conservatorship over wife Mavis’ estate, not her person. (Barry King/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

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“The purpose of doing the substituted judgment estate planning would be to prepare an estate plan and if something happened to Mr. Leno, a petition for conservatorship of the person would promptly be filed according to the plans to be under the estate planning to have a conservator of the person be appointed promptly.”

In recent years, the former “Tonight Show” host has had a litany of his own health issues. In November 2022, Leno sustained severe burns following a gasoline accident at his Burbank garage. He was hospitalized at the Grossman Burn Center, receiving hyperbaric chamber treatment. 

Jay Leno wearing denim driving his car shows off his relatively fresh burn on his cheek while driving in Los Angeles

Jay Leno has suffered not one, but two serious accidents in the past two years. He’s pictured here after sustaining severe burns to his face from a garage accident. (MEGA/GC Images)

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In January 2023, Leno was plagued with more injuries, getting into a motorcycle accident and breaking several bones, a revelation he made during a standup gig.

The comedian, 73, recently said “unless I have a stroke,” he’s not closing shop. “Then you slow down,” he admitted to Page Six in May. “That’s when you retire – when you have your stroke,” he joked.

An appointment hearing for the conservatorship case is scheduled for April 9 in Los Angeles.