Chumlee is an American television personality, businessman and actor, born on September 8, 1982 in Henderson, Nevada, USA. He is known for his appearance on History’s hit show “Pawn Stars”.
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Austin Lee Russell, better known as Chumlee, was born the first of three children to a middle-class family of Scottish descent. While there is no information about his parents, his younger siblings are known to be named Terra and Sage. His physical resemblance to Chumley’s character in the “Tennessee Tuxedo” series earned him his nickname “Chumlee” in his youth.
As a result of his close friendship with Corey Harrison, in his youth Chumlee spent countless hours in his friend’s family business – The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop – steadily learning about the trade in antiques and jewelry, even if only pawned. goods.
Already familiar with the work dynamics of business, Chumlee became an employee of The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas at age 21. Although his primary occupation was object testing and loading, his knowledge of history and passion for sneakers and video games led Chumlee to specialize in pop culture collectibles, valuing retail items in these categories.
The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop was founded in 1989 by Richard Harrison and his son Rick. Although Harrison only raised $5,000 in capital to fund his business, it quickly became a local success as an increasing number of customers with valuable items to pledge or sell visited the store.
Pawn Stars – TV Debut
In 2008, producers Colby Gaines and Brent Montgomery visited Las Vegas, and struck by the aesthetics and eclecticism of local pawnshops, both producers considered creating a show at one of those stores, believing it would be a success. Looking for a suitable, established family business that was ideal for their idea, they found The Gold and Silver Pawn Shop.
Rick Harrison had been trying to make a series showcasing his shop for years, so he enthusiastically accepted Gaines and Montgomery’s proposal.
In 2009, “Pawn Stars” premiered on the History Channel with Richard “Old Man” Harrison, his son Rick and grandson Corey, breaking the network’s audience records at the time.
While the concept of the show was appealing and the items featured within it fascinated audiences interested in America’s history, the show “was missing something,” in Chumlee’s words. In an interview with PodKats in March 2020Talking about his beginnings with the show, Russell also revealed what the missing factor of “Pawn Stars” was: “They (producers) were making a short episode and we had about 12 employees at the time.
They went through everyone and said, “Okay, who’s going to be our fourth member?” I didn’t watch too much TV, but I decided to watch some TV, some reality shows, and I realized what was missing was the funny part of the show, the whip boy, that’s what I called it at the time. Someone they could joke with and laugh with.” Chumlee’s idea to be “Pawn Stars” comedic relief factor was successful as his popularity grew rapidly, and he became one of the memorable stars in the series.
The reception of the show
“Pawn Stars” has received many positive reviews over the years. In 2009 Christopher Long from Movie Metropolis liberally reviewed the show, stating. “Pawn Stars is by far the best show on the History Channel, and arguably the best show on cable.”
“Pawn Stars” became one of the most watched shows on American TV, and it has also become a tourist attraction in Las Vegas, averaging 3000 visitors per day. The show is the highest-grossing on its network, bringing History Channel an average of $3 million per episode. Due to its incredible success, The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop was renamed The World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.
Featuring the main cast of “Pawn Stars”, the game show “Pionography” premiered on the History Channel in 2014. Chumlee, along with Rick and Corey Harrison, acted as panelists on this show, in which contestants competed for cash prizes and to win historic, valuable items from The World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.
Over the years, Chumlee has made several appearances on other shows, such as “Top Gear USA”, “American Restoration” and Nickelodeon’s “iCarly”.
In 2017, Austin Lee Russell opened his own candy store called “Chumlee’s Candy”, opposite Harrisons’ pawn shop on Pawn Plaza. The company, operated by Chumlee and his brother Sage, sells a variety of candies, including “Pawn Stars” themed candies. His candy cigarettes are its most famous product, though: ‘For nostalgic sweets, I can’t keep candy cigarettes and chewing gum cigarettes on the shelves in the summer. People come in and buy as many as they can fit in their hands. They want to buy a whole box, and we have boxes in the back. I can’t order enough.’
Facing allegations of sexual assault, Chumlee’s home was raised in March 2016 and xanax, marijuana, cocaine and crystal meth were found by police along with numerous firearms that resulted in his arrest. Although the assault charges were dropped for lack of evidence, he was eventually sentenced to three years’ probation after being found guilty of gun and drug possession.
In a press release issued by Chumlee, he expressed gratitude for the support from fans: “I appreciate everyone’s patience in letting the investigation take its course, and I’m always confident that the truth would eventually come out. It was worth seeing that I wasn’t being biased by our fans, and that has been gratifying over the past two months. (…). Thanks to everyone who has supported me during this time.”
In 2013, Chumlee began dating Tanya Hyjazi, a restaurant chef in Las Vegas. Although the relationship ended in 2013 for unknown reasons, Chumlee quickly became attached to Instagram model Olivia Rademann, to whom he proposed in May 2018 after a miscarriage. two year relationship: “We were friends for a year or two before we were ever a couple, and got together in early 2016.” In August 2019, the couple married in a private ceremony in Hawaii.
In addition to owning at least 200 pairs of sneakers, Chumlee’s fortune has allowed him to pursue his other passion: vintage cars. His collection includes a 1964 Impala SS, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Mascerati GrandTurismo and others.
As of mid-2020 Austin Lee “Chumlee” Russell has a estimated net worth of $5 million, as a result of his work in “Pawn Stars”, income derived from his own candy store and his appearances in several TV shows.
Chumlee is a man of white ethnicity. Although it is speculated that he is of Mexican and Native American descent, he has not confirmed this information. At the beginning of “Pawn Stars” he was visibly overweight, but Chumlee has recently made huge changes to his appearance. In 2018, he previously lost about 38 pounds who had gastric surgery that yearweighing 230 lbs (104 kg) thereafter.
Of all the members of “Pawn Stars”, Chumlee’s merchandise is a bestseller. “Pawn Stars” has aired for 17 seasons and continues to be a TV success.
— Austin Russell (@chumlee_) June 21, 2019
Richard Harrison, founder and co-owner of The World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, died on June 25, 2018, after battling Parkinson’s disease for years. In an interview from 2018 with Norm!Chumlee expressed his admiration for his late boss: “He meant the world to me. He was kind of a grandfather to me and he didn’t have to be. He came across as cranky, but he was always there with advice and joking with me. He changed so many lives with his generosity. He was so nice when anyone needed help. He lent someone money when their animal needed surgery. He supported battered women.”
Chumlee also shared the best advice the “Old Man” had given him: “He told me to keep my head up and focus on the good things ahead and positive things. He said, “Don’t worry about people’s opinions.” It seems pretty simple, but he was married for over 50 years and I think he taught me how to be a good husband.”