Catherine Leno

ANDOVER, Mass. (AP) — Catherine Leno, mother of “The Tonight Show” host Jay Leno, died of cancer June 26. She was 82.

Mrs. Leno, a native of Scotland who came to the U.S. as a young girl, died at her home in Andover.

Jay Leno called her a major influence on his sense of humor.

“She was always conscious of how the jokes would affect the people I was talking about, like she said, ‘What if you hurt President Clinton’s feelings?’ ” Leno said after his mother’s death.

“She affected the kind of comedy I wanted to do. She had an ear for what was appropriate.”

Leno said he talked with his mother at least every other day on the phone and his parents came often to visit him.

“The last time she came out to California, we went to one of those 1950 s-style restaurants. She looked around and said, ‘This is Beverly Hills? You’d think they’d update the decor a little bit,’ ” Leno recalled.

In an interview with the Lawrence Eagle-Tribune last year, Mrs. Leno said she never minded being the butt of her son’s jokes. “Every time he pokes fun, that means he is thinking of me,” she said.

Mrs. Leno is survived by her husband of 57 years, Angelo, and another son, Patrick.

Funeral services were to be Tuesday at West Parish Church in Andover.

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