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Chumlee from 'Pawn Stars' Is More than the Funny Guy — What We Know About Him

Busayo Ogunjimi
Jul 27, 2022
06:15 P.M.
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Chumlee became known as the funny guy from "Pawn Stars," but there's more to him than that. The "comic genius" owns a candy store and has a good eye for business.

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Chumlee is perhaps best known as one of the characters in the reality show "Pawn Stars." Chumlee is the childhood friend of Corey Harrison, and he essentially grew up in the shop ran Rick Harrison.

With such long history between them, it is unsurprising that the Harrisons love Chumlee and even indulge him. However, nobody takes him seriously, and he is often the butt of the jokes the boys make.

Austin "Chumlee" Russell from "Pawn Stars"  attends th Autism gala "A Golden Night" at T-Mobile Arena on October 25, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Austin "Chumlee" Russell from "Pawn Stars" attends th Autism gala "A Golden Night" at T-Mobile Arena on October 25, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

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According to them, it is hard to take Chumlee seriously when his favorite pastime is pushing Corey to buy things that can entertain him, such as video games and circus items. He also has no business acumen, usually willing to take the client's side and give them as great a deal as he could manage.

It angers Rick, but the customers love the comic vibe Chumlee induces with his antics. He has even been called the show's "comic genius."

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WHO IS CHUMLEE?

Austin "Chumlee" Russell was born on September 8, 1982, in Henderson, Nevada, USA. Not much is known about his family, but it has been confirmed that he has two siblings.

His brother, Sage, who lives in Las Vegas, is the only member of Chumlee's family who has graduated from high school, while his sister, Terra, lives in Utah with four kids.

Their father died in 2009 at age 54 of pancreatic cancer, a few weeks before the first episode of "Pawn Stars" premiered. Chumlee's fame started to rise from that day, but the TV star remains grounded and practical, well aware of how lucky he is.

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Pawn Stars cast member Austin "Chumlee" Russell attends "The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Las Vegas" at Lighthouse Las Vegas on October 07, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Pawn Stars cast member Austin "Chumlee" Russell attends "The Original Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit Las Vegas" at Lighthouse Las Vegas on October 07, 2021, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

As his fame grew, questions arose about his nickname and how it came to be, so he opened up about it in one interview in 2012. According to him, it all began when he went to his friend's house to hang out. He was young, so after spending time with them, he started saying his goodbyes. His friend's dad was not ready for him to leave, so he said cheerfully:

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"You're not going nowhere; sit down and have dinner with us Chumlee."

Chumlee was inspired by the cartoon character Tennessee Tuxedo's sidekick, the walrus named Chumley. The man had called him that to get to know him better, but the name stuck from that day. Chumlee did not graduate high school, but he has shown interest in doing some work behind the camera.

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He once partnered with executive producer Tracy Whittaker on some documentary concepts, and there are several pictures he has taken on sale on the pawn shop's website. The famous star had been just another regular person before he met the Harrison family, the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop owners.

The family Chumlee came from had been poor, so he did not complete his high school education but later earned a GED. He got hired at the shop with Corey Harrison long before it became popular. The two boys met in a fist fight but somehow became tight buddies.

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Chumlee is comic-savvy, but unlike many think, he also has a good eye for business. He demonstrated this when he became the first of the crew members to market his character. Book expert Romney said:

"His Chumlee T-shirts were so successful that Rick bought out half his business, and now they sell all sorts of his stuff in the store."

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When he's not at the shop working on things, Chumlee can be found DJing. In 2015, he reportedly played his first show at Ghostbar Dayclub's season finale at the Palms in Vegas. And all he asked for payment allegedly included:

"1 pair of Hawaiian Nike Dunk SB's; Dinner at the N9NE Steakhouse for his crew; A basketball suite for a pick-up game after the show; Beautiful waitresses to escort him to the stage; Girl Scout cookies (Thin Mints and Peanut Butter Patties; two Nerf basketball hoops and five Nerf guns."

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Besides working as a reality television series star, Chumlee also likes getting tattoos and purchasing quality sneakers. He was recently featured in an episode of Complex's "Sneaker Shopping," where he showcased his vast knowledge on the topic.

Today, Chumlee has attained full-fledged stardom. He even has to move around with sunshades and hats to avoid being recognized, but they don't always work.

Fans seem to like him because of how approachable he looks; nonetheless, Chumlee once claimed that he was the least approachable person among the Pawnstar crew. He has called himself a "very quiet and reserved" person and credited the show with opening him up more.

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CHUMLEE OWNS A CANDY SHOP

In 2017, Chumlee opened a new business in downtown Las Vegas. The candy store is just a stone's throw away from the business that made him famous. According to him, it was his way of giving back to the community. The candy store is being run by his brother, but Chumlee is also a big part of its operations.

In 2017, the TV star threatened to sue a man named Patrick Keys because he was the legal owner of two domain names Chumlee wanted for his shop.

Keys makes his living by buying and selling domain names, and when he caught wind of information that implied Chumlee was building a store, he quickly purchased the domains ahead of time.

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According to him, he tried to reach out to Chumlee several times so they could make a deal, but he never received a response. Chumlee's lawyers wrote Keys a cease and desist letter threatening legal action to contest the claim to the domain names.

Keys had no affiliation to the store Chumlee had opened, so they argued that he shouldn't have the domain name in the first place. The star's rep said the letter was necessary because "Cybersquatter Keys" stole their trademarks while Chumlee was planning a site."

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IS CHUMLEE MARRIED?

At some point in the past, Chumlee was engaged to a woman named Olivia Rademann. They initially met in 2013 but did not start dating immediately.

They were great friends for more than two years, but in 2016 they started dating and essentially became a power couple. Two years later, in 2018, the pair got engaged in Hawaii and made plans to get married the following year.

In 2019, Chumlee and Olivia had their pre-wedding celebration at the Detroit Ballroom inside the D's Andiamo Steakhouse in Las Vegas. Some months later, the lovebirds secretly married in a ceremony held at the Royal Hawaiian Waikiki in Hawaii.

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Olivia Russell and Austin "Chumlee" Russell from "Pawn Stars" attend Murray SawChuck's celebration of 1 Million YouTube subscribers at The Golden Tiki on December 12, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Olivia Russell and Austin "Chumlee" Russell from "Pawn Stars" attend Murray SawChuck's celebration of 1 Million YouTube subscribers at The Golden Tiki on December 12, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Olivia has been described as a philanthropist; however, she also harbors the desire to become a businesswoman. In 2019 during their pre-wedding party, she confessed that she would like to own an eyelash studio.

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At the time, Chumlee supported her, stating that together they could open a chain of shops like his candy store and her eyelash store side by side. It is unknown if they ever worked on the chain together, but as of 2022, Chumlee seems to have separated from Olivia.

He has deleted all her photos from his Instagram page and rarely mentions her anymore. Nobody knows what truly happened between them.

Austin "Chumlee" Russell and Olivia Rademann attends the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation's ninth annual Fashion for Autism gala "A Golden Night" at T-Mobile Arena on October 25, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

Austin "Chumlee" Russell and Olivia Rademann attends the Grant a Gift Autism Foundation's ninth annual Fashion for Autism gala "A Golden Night" at T-Mobile Arena on October 25, 2018, in Las Vegas, Nevada. | Source: Getty Images

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CHUMLEE'S WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY

Chumlee has struggled with his weight for most of his life. In 2013, he changed his habits and lost 75 pounds within a year. Unfortunately, it all came flooding back, and by January 2019, he weighed as much as 350 pounds.

After hitting 350 lbs, Chumlee stopped struggling with his weight and decided to change things by undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, which helped him lose more than 150 lbs.

The surgery reduces the amount of food one can eat while making them feel full even when they're subsisting on less food. Chumlee said he chose the procedure because he wanted to become healthy and remain that way. Chumlee is now very focused on living a healthy life and has been only too happy to encourage his fans to do the same.

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CHUMLEE'S BIGGEST MISTAKE IN THE PAWN BUSINESS

On "Pawn Stars," Chumlee is known for his random mistakes, but one of the dumbest moves he ever pulled happened before the show was created.

Apparently, someone had gone in to pawn a stand-up bass, and Chumlee had leaned it against a shelf and wandered away. The bass fell and broke into pieces, but rather than get rid of the shards, Chumlee put them into a box and put the pawn number on it.

The owner returned to find his bass in shambles and was very disgruntled. It cost them $20,000 because it turned out to be rare.

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CHUMLEE HAS HAD TROUBLE WITH THE LAW

In March, the police raided Chumlee's house and recovered 12 guns, a plastic bag filled with marijuana, and a small quantity of methamphetamine. The bust happened because the police had been there to investigate a sexual assault case. Chumlee was not charged in the case and was released after posting a bail worth $62,000.

In June 2022, Chumlee took a plea deal on gun and drug charges resulting from the raid of his home. He reportedly pleaded guilty to one count of attempted possession of a controlled substance, but an extra felony weapon charge will also be a part of the plea deal.

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He will not serve jail time but has been sentenced to counseling and three years of probation. Since that brush with the law, Chumlee has been channeling all his energy into living healthily as a law-abiding citizen so he can put it all behind him.

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