Birth Date: October 3, 1965 / Age: 49
Birth Place: Massapequa, Long Island, New York, USA
Also Credited as: John Melendez
Biography: John Melendez formerly known as "Stuttering John" (b. October 4, 1965 in New York City), is the announcer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
John was born to a Puerto Rican father and a Danish mother. John's father was very strict and at times would fly into fits of rage. John's stuttering and obsessive disorder first started when he witnessed a family argument involving his parents. John also developed a sense of fear about doing things and that those things would turn out wrong. He lived in Massapequa, Long Island, where he was picked on by the neighborhood bullies because of his stuttering. Eventually, he befriended those bullies and got into trouble himself.
In 1988, John attended New York University's film school. He also belonged to a band called Rock Slide. His roommate was going to leave his job interning at the Howard Stern radio show and John begged him for a recommendation. Howard's producer, Gary Dell'Abate, spoke with Howard about John and his stuttering problem and Howard decided to hire him on the spot.
For Stern's people, John was a godsend and would be the perfect person to make outrageous street interviews. They figured that celebrities wouldn't want to look bad turning down an interview from a person who stutters. John also provided comic interest with his misadventures, poor grammar, and sloppy pronunciation. For example, the name "Nicholas Cage" becomes "Niggerless Cage" when spoken by Melendez.
John also received national exposure when Stern's show started to air on national television. In the 15 years with Stern, John has also participated in the Off-Broadway show Tony n' Tina's Wedding. There, he met his wife, Suzanne. He had bit parts in the movies Airheads, Meet Wally Sparks and Howard Stern's movie Private Parts. He appeared on television on episodes of Wings and Baywatch Nights, and in the US version of the reality series I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here!.
With time, the Howard Stern Show changed because celebrities were more than willing to appear in Howard's show and put up with the jokes. John started doing less and less of the street interviews which made him famous. He started spending more time with his wife and daughter, Greta.
Melendez worked with a speech coach to overcome his stuttering and was offered the position of announcer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He accepted and made his Tonight Show debut on March 29, 2004, after 15 years with Howard Stern. On The Tonight Show, he is identified simply as "John Melendez" (not "Stuttering John Melendez").