As History viewers know, Austin “Chumlee” Russell is one of the star employees of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, the setting of the long-running docuseries Pawn Stars.
Chumlee became a breakout star of the show shortly after its 2009 premiere — so much so that he became a local celebrity at the pawn shop, as Las Vegas Weekly reported in 2010. “It was like I was Johnny Depp or something,” Chumlee told the magazine at the time.
Chumlee is a longtime friend of the Harrison family.
Chumlee is a childhood friend of Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison and has known the Harrison family since he was 12, per Las Vegas Weekly.
That means he also got close to Rick “The Spotter” Harrison, Corey’s father, and the late Richard “Old Man” Harrison, Corey’s grandfather, who opened the pawn store with Rick in 1989.
“I’ve helped [Chumlee] out a lot in his life,” Rick told Entertainment Weekly in 2010. “Christmas morning, he will be at the house.”
Oh, and that nickname? Chumlee got it from elementary school classmates who likened him to Chummy, the walrus character in the Tennessee Tuxedo cartoon series.
On ‘Pawn Stars,’ Chumlee took on the “whipping boy” role.
As History explains in Chumlee’s bio, the 39-year-old often butts head with Rick over impractical purchases at the pawn shop. And though Chumlee is a customer service “pro,” he always wants to give customers the best deal, which “never fails to push Rick’s buttons,” the channel ads.
Chumlee explained to Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Katsilometes in 2020 that he put himself into the “whipping boy” role on Pawn Stars as the Harrisons developed the concept for the reality show.
“They were making a short episode and we had about 12 employees at the time,” he recalled. “They went through everybody, saying, ‘All right, who’s going to be our fourth member?’ I didn’t watch too much TV, but I decided I’d go watch some TV, some reality shows, and I kind of realized what was missing was the funny part of the show, the whipping boy is what I called it at the time. Someone they could make fun of and laugh with.”
After 12 years on the show, Chumlee has developed a sizable net worth.
Chumlee’s “whipping boy” ploy worked. He’s still on the show, more than 12 years later. And in 2017, he opened a candy store, Chumlee’s Candy, next door to the pawn shop. Fittingly, Chumlee has a “sweet” net worth. According to CelebrityNetWorth, his fortune stands at $5 million, and he makes $25,000 per episode of Pawn Stars.
Businessman and ‘Pawn Stars’ star
Net worth: $5 million (reported)
Austin “Chumlee” Russell is a businessman and reality TV star whose work at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas is documented in the History docuseries Pawn Stars.
Birthdate: September 8, 1982
Birthplace: Henderson, Nev.