Austin Lee Russell is a business owner, television personality, and actor from America. A member of the main cast of History Channel’s reality TV series ‘Pawn Stars’, he is most known by his stage name, Chumlee. A native of Nevada, he grew up alongside Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison, whose father and grandfather set up the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in 1989. Chumlee was 21 years old when he started working at the pawnshop. A few years later, in July 2009, ‘Pawn Stars’ premiered on History, catapulting Chumlee, along with three members of the Harrison family, into international stardom. He predominantly works behind the counter. Some of his duties are checking the items, loading them, and writing the tickets for items bought by the customers. In the show, he is portrayed as someone who is not particularly intelligent or extremely competent at his job, and as a result, is often at the receiving end of others’ jokes. Despite this, he has shown that he can be quite brilliant from time to time. In recent years, Chumlee has set up several business ventures, including a company that sells novelty items and a candy shop.
The Gold & Silver Pawn Shop was established by the late Richard "Old Man" Harrison and his son Rick Harrison in 1989. Corey is Rick’s son and Richard’s grandson. Chumlee joined his friend’s family business at the age of 21. Five years later, on July 19, 2009, ‘Pawn Stars’ began airing on the History Channel and gradually became one of the most popular reality shows in the world. The show is currently airing its 16th season.
At the pawnshop, Chumlee primarily serves behind the counter. His job revolves around checking the items, loading them, and writing the tickets for items bought by the customers. He is depicted in the show as someone who is not that smart or good at his job, often serving as the comic foil for others. This has led to him being referred to as the “village idiot”. However, Chumlee can be brilliant at times, especially while doing business involving the things he knows about.
It did not take him long to become the breakout character of the show. The fans love him, and he has accumulated over two hundred thousand followers on Instagram. His merchandise sells more than any other cast members’. This has prompted him to launch his company, which makes various types of novelty items, including t-shirts that he himself has designed. The company also schedules dates for his personal appearances. In 2010, Rick Harrison purchased half of Chumlee’s stake in the company from him, which has made it easier for the shop to deal with the orders for his merchandise.
In May 2017, Chumlee launched a candy shop, Chumlee's Candy on the Boulevard, which is located right across the street from the pawnshop.
As an actor, he has been featured in several projects. He appeared as himself in the 2013 romance drama ‘Pop Star’. That year, he played the host in the ‘Pawn Stars’ segment of the video short ‘Bob Dylan: Like a Rolling Stone’. Chumlee also made appearances in two episodes of History Channel’s game show ‘Pawnography’.
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In March 2016, during a police raid following sexual assault allegations, several types of drugs and a firearm were discovered in Russell’s house. On a later raid, 11 more legally-owned firearms were found by the police along with evidence of possible cocaine use. He was subsequently arrested. He eventually pleaded guilty to all charges against him to avoid jail.
Family & Personal Life
Born on September 8, 1982, in Henderson, Nevada, Russell has two siblings, brother Sage, and sister Terra. He and Corey are childhood friends. When he was 12 years old, the father of one of his friends remarked that he resembled Chumley, the walrus sidekick from the animated TV series ‘Tennessee Tuxedo’, because of his large face and chin. This stuck, and Russell has been called Chumlee since then. According to his Instagram posts, he is part Scottish. It has also been alluded that he is of part Mexican and Native American descent, but these claims have not yet been verified.
Russell has known Instagram model and UNLV student Olivia Rademann for a while. They began dating in early 2016. In May 2018, they got engaged at the Royal Hawaiian Waikiki with a one-and-a-half carat diamond ring that he gave her. In August, they celebrated their engagement by hosting a party at the Andiamo Italian Steakhouse in Las Vegas. In March 2019, the couple organised a pre-wedding celebration party at the Detroit Ballroom inside the D Las Vegas.
Following the death of his father at the age of 54 due to pancreatic cancer, Russell brought about drastic changes in his lifestyle. By September 2013, he had managed to lose 75 lb. In 2018, he lost 38 pounds before a gastric sleeve surgery due to a pre-operation diet. Since the operation, he has lost over 100 lb. He currently has a trainer and wants to “get rid of about 10-20 pounds of fat and build more muscle”.
Chumlee is an avid collector of shoes.