Introduction to Chumlee 👋
Chumlee, whose real name is Austin Lee Russell, is a businessman and reality television personality. He starred in the popular History Channel show Pawn Stars from 2009 to 2022. Chumlee got his nickname from his childhood friend Corey Harrison due to his large size. On Pawn Stars, Chumlee worked at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas along with Rick Harrison, Richard Harrison, and Corey Harrison. He became known for his lack of intelligence and expertise compared to the other cast members. However, Chumlee became a fan favorite due to his lovable personality.
Early Life and Career Beginnings 👶
Chumlee was born on September 8, 1982 in Henderson, Nevada. He dropped out of high school and began working at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop at age 21. Chumlee was childhood friends with Corey Harrison, whose father Rick owned the pawn shop. His nickname came from the walrus sidekick character “Chumley” on the cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo. Chumlee started out doing menial tasks at the pawn shop before becoming a TV star.
Popularity on Pawn Stars 📺
Pawn Stars debuted in 2009 and quickly became the History Channel’s highest rated TV show. It followed the day-to-day operations at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop. Chumlee emerged as one of the show’s most popular characters. He was known for his lack of expertise, silly antics, and jovial personality. While other cast members would appraise items, Chumlee was there for comic relief. He also occasionally brought in valuable items like pinball machines to sell at the shop. Chumlee’s popularity led him to make appearances on other TV shows, host events, and start side businesses.
Legal Issues 🚔
In 2016, Chumlee faced legal troubles when he was arrested on weapon and drug charges. Police found marijuana, methamphetamine, and several firearms at his Las Vegas home. He was accused of sexually assaulting a woman the previous year as well. Chumlee ended up pleading guilty to a felony weapon charge and misdemeanor attempted drug possession charge. He received 3 years probation and counseling. This incident led to him departing Pawn Stars in 2022 after filming over 250 episodes.
Net Worth and Side Businesses 💰
Despite his legal troubles, Chumlee has built up an impressive net worth estimated between $5-$8 million. A big part of this is his ownership stake in the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop and the show’s royalties. Chumlee also branched out with his own candy shop called Chumlee’s Candy on the Boulevard. He sells novelty candies along with merchandise like t-shirts. Chumlee has earned additional income from appearances, licensing deals, and investments. His net worth is likely to grow now that he has more time after leaving Pawn Stars.
Chumlee leveraged his popularity from Pawn Stars into lucrative business opportunities. He transformed himself from the pawn shop’s goofball to a shrewd entrepreneur. Despite legal troubles derailing his TV career, Chumlee built up a small fortune and remains a widely recognized celebrity. His lovable personality on Pawn Stars is what made him a household name in the first place. Chumlee’s net worth and career achievements are impressive considering his unconventional path to success.