Austin Lee Russell, better known as “Chumlee,” is a businessman and star of the reality television show Pawn Stars. His day-to-day activities at Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas form the basis for the show. Chumley and his childhood friend Corey Harrison worked at the pawn shop for five years before Pawn Stars started filming. Corey’s father and grandfather have owned the pawn shop since 1989. Pawn Stars is ranked the number-two most watched reality show in North America.
Chumlee was born on September 8, 1982, in Henderson, Nevada. His nickname comes from the character, Chumlee the walrus, in the animated TV series Tennessee Tuxedo; because both he and his namesake share a large face and chin.
Chumlee had trouble with the law in early 2016 due to cases of sexual abuse allegations, and was charged with 20 felony counts. He was sentenced to three years of parole and counseling, after his lawyer made a deal to plead guilty.
The first filming of Pawn Stars started in July 2009. Chumlee works behind the counter, checking items before they are sold and writing item tickets. His colleagues often ridicule him for his lack of knowledge, also nicknaming him “village idiot.” Despite this, he still makes more money at the shop than his coworkers, because of his popularity on the show and his customer service skills. He is, however, also known for his poor negotiation skills.
Chumlee has gained quite a following due to his fame. His fans consider him the “darling” of the show because of his kind and “clueless” character. Despite his popularity, however, Chumlee considers himself reserved and prefers not meet and greet his fans.
In fact, due to their success as celebrities, the “Pawn Stars” no longer work behind the counter for privacy reasons, and now deal with legitimate customers in a hallway away from the shop floor, to avoid fans who are only there to take photos.
In 2014, Chumlee started appearing in the TV game-show, Pawnography, alongside his other Pawn Stars colleagues.
As for his personal life, Chumlee has a passion for shoes and owns over 200 pairs. He is also a car enthusiast; his collection includes a Cadillac Escalade, a Maserati GranTurismo, and a 1964 Impala SS. He also appeared on Top Gear with his colleague Rick, where they talked about their first cars. While at home, Chumlee spends his extra time watching TV shows, sports, and playing video games.
After losing his father to pancreatic cancer, Chumlee started a weight loss program and lost 34 kg as a result. However, despite his efforts, he gradually gained it back and weighed 350 lbs before undergoing gastric sleeve surgery and losing 160 lbs.
Aside from being a reality TV star, Chumlee is also a businessman, and his net worth is estimated at $5 million. He also runs a candy store with his brother, Sage Russell, and in an interview hinted that he would love to do a spin-off show about it.