Childhood & Early Life
Harrison was born Richard Kevin Harrison, on March 22, 1965, in Lexington, North Carolina, to ‘U.S. Navy’ veteran Richard Benjamin Harrison Jr., better known as ''The Old Man'' and ''The Appraiser,'' and his wife, Joanne Rhue Harrison. His older brother, Sherry Joanne Harrison, died at the age of 6 years. Harrison has two more brothers, Joseph Kent Harrison and Christopher K. Harrison. The family relocated to San Diego in 1967.
Harrison attended 'Taft Middle School' in San Diego, California. He was 8 when he was diagnosed with epilepsy, and his intense seizures would often leave him bed-ridden for weeks. That was when he developed a lifelong interest in reading, which eventually helped him during his entrepreneurial pursuits. He was highly influenced by John D. Fitzgerald’s 'The Great Brain' series, whose 10-year-old protagonist was a con artist with several money-making schemes on his mind.
Harrison dropped out in tenth grade, to start a business of selling fake 'Gucci' bags. His family relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, in April 1981, after their real-estate business collapsed. In Las Vegas, Harrison’s father started his first second-hand shop, which later flourished and became their sole business.
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In 1981, ''The Old Man'' founded a 300-square-foot second-hand store on Las Vegas Boulevard South and named it the 'Gold & Silver Coin Shop.' Back then, Harrison would work part-time at the store during the day and repossess cars at night.
Five years later, the Harrisons relocated the shop to Fremont Street. However, they lost their lease after 2 years. Hence, they moved to Las Vegas Boulevard, and after some legal struggles, they got their pawn license.
In 1989, Harrison and his father opened the renewed version of their shop, the 'Gold & Silver Pawn Shop,' near the Las Vegas Strip.
By 2006, the shop was popularized for keeping special sports items with unique backstories. It served the gamblers, too. However, jewelry has always been the most-pawned item in their shop.
Harrison worked for about 4 years to find a producer for his reality show. He got the idea for the show after his pawn shop was featured on the 'Comedy Central' show 'Insomniac with Dave Attell' (2003).
His struggles ended to some extent in 2008, when 'Leftfield Pictures' approached him with an offer. However, there were still more hurdles to cross. The channel 'HBO' preferred the series taking place in a style similar to 'Taxicab Confessions,’ at the 'Gold & Silver' night window.
The idea was then pitched to 'History Channel,' which made changes to the format, focusing on the items brought into 'Gold & Silver.'
Initially titled 'Pawning History,' the creators finally decided to name it 'Pawn Stars' to appeal to the audiences, as the name sounded similar to "porn stars.’’ The first episode was aired on July 19, 2009.
The show featured the daily activities at the 'Gold & Silver Pawn Shop' and eventually became the network's highest-rated program and the second-highest-rated reality show.
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On June 7, 2011, Harrison released a biography titled 'License to Pawn: Deals, Steals and My Life at the Gold & Silver.' In November the following year, he and his son appeared in an episode of the 'Nickelodeon' teen sitcom 'iCarly.' He also appeared as an antique store owner in an episode of the 'ABC' sitcom 'The Middle.'
In 2013, Harrison featured in TV commercials for 'TurboTax' tax-preparation software, 'Micro Touch One' safety razors, and 'Windows' laptops. He also appeared in commercials for 'American Aviator' watches (2015) and 'Lifelock' identity-theft protection (2017).
In January 2014, 'Micro Touch One’ named Harrison as their official spokesperson. In July that year, Harrison, his son, and his 'Gold & Silver Pawn Shop' partner Austin "Chumlee" Russell appeared on the 'History Channel' game show 'Pawnography.'
In 2010, the 'National Pawnbrokers Association' recognized Harrison’s contribution in the pawn industry by awarding him the 'Pawnbroker of the Year Award.'
‘Pawn Stars’ will be featured at the 2019 'National Sports Collectors Convention' in Chicago. In September 2019, Harrison announced a new venture called the 'Rick Harrison Collection,' which is a high-end gallery and boutique located at the 'Grand Canal Shoppes' at ‘The Venetian.’
Family & Personal Life
Harrison was 17 when he impregnated his girlfriend, Kim. The pregnancy ultimately ended in a miscarriage. The two, however, married later and had their first child, their son, Corey, on April 27, 1983. Harrison and Kim separated soon after the birth of their second child, Adam.
Harrison then met Tracy on a blind double-date. They moved in together after dating for 6 months. They married 8 months later and had a son, Jake. Harrison and Tracy’s marriage, too, ended in a divorce.
In 2012, Harrison got engaged to Deanna Burditt. They got married on July 21, 2013, in Laguna Beach, California. Car expert Danny Koker officiated the ceremony.
Harrison is the spokesman and board member of an epilepsy foundation. He donated the proceeds from the sale of former First Lady Ida McKinley’s tiara to the 'Epilepsy Foundation of Nevada.' He had bought the tiara from one of Mrs. McKinley’s family members.
At his father’s funeral (“The Old Man’’ died on June 25, 2018), Harrison asked the guests to donate to the 'Epilepsy Foundation' instead of offering flowers.
Harrison is a staunch libertarian. However, he had endorsed Marco Rubio’s 2016 presidential campaign. He has also supported Donald Trump in the past. "Yeah, I'm a Trump guy," he stated at a ‘CPAC’ press pool in 2018.
Harrison is known for his opulent lifestyle. He owns a mansion at 2556 Red Arrow Drive, in a gated community of the 'Red Rock Estates' inside the 'Red Rock Country Club' that he had bought in 2001.
They have spent about $600,000 on the interiors, with extensive use of granite, while the exterior is adorned with Jerusalem limestone worth over a million dollars.