Chumlee

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Not to be confused with Chumley.
Chumlee
Chumlee from Pawn Stars (cropped).jpg
Russell in November 2010.
Born Austin Russell
(1982-09-08) September 8, 1982 (age 32)[1]
Occupation Reality television personality
Years active 2009–present

Austin Russell, more commonly known by his stagename, Chumlee (born September 8, 1982), is an American reality television personality, known as a cast member on the History Channel television show Pawn Stars, which depicts the daily business at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas where Russell works as an employee.[2][3] Chumlee came to work at the pawn shop five years before filming of the first season,[4][5] having been a childhood friend of Corey Harrison,[2] whose father, Rick Harrison, and grandfather, Richard Benjamin Harrison, opened the shop in 1989.[6]

On the show, he is often portrayed as the comic foil,[4][7][8][9] but often appraises in his area of expertise of pinball machines, sneakers and video games,[10] and is considered the breakout character of the series,[11][12][13][14][15] and a fan favorite.[16]

Early life[edit]

Austin Russell was given the nickname "Chumlee" when he was about 12 years old. Due to his large stature, the father of one of his friends stated that he looked like the walrus Chumley from the animated TV series Tennessee Tuxedo.[2][9][17] As a child he became good friends with Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison,[2] whose father, Rick Harrison, and grandfather, Richard Harrison, opened the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in 1989,[6] where Russell and Corey often spent time as children.[2]

Career[edit]

At age 21, Chumlee began working for the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop,[18] and had worked there for five years by the time of filming for the first season of the reality television series Pawn Stars, which is set at the shop, and premiered in July 2009.[4][5] He does behind-the-counter work at the shop, such as testing the items, loading them,[19] and writing the tickets for items purchased by others.[20]

On the series, he is depicted as the comic foil, often made the butt of the others' jokes for his perceived lack of intelligence and his incompetence,[7] for which he has been referred to as a "village idiot".[4][8][9][21] Chumlee has responded to this by explaining that he is underestimated, and points to his expertise in pinball machines, which he utilizes in the second season episode "Pinball Wizards", much to Corey's surprise, as an example of one of the areas in which he is knowledgeable.[10]

Chumlee emerged as the breakout character,[11][12][13][14][15] and a fan favorite of the series.[16] As a result of the show's success, he formed his own company, which sells novelty items, including T-shirts of his own design, and arranges for his personal appearances. He sold half of the company in 2010 to Rick Harrison for $5,000, so that the shop could handle orders of his merchandise more efficiently.[22] So popular is his character that sales of his merchandise far surpasses that of the other stars of the show.[16]

Chumlee appeared as himself, alongside Rick and Corey Harrison, in "iLost My Head in Vegas", the November 3, 2012 episode of the American TV series iCarly.

Personal life[edit]

Chumlee enjoys collecting shoes, and owns more than 150 pairs. He also enjoys sports, video games and skateboarding. He is a fan of both punk rock music[3] and rap music, and enjoys attending rap music events at the House of Blues at Mandalay Bay.[11] He is a fan of the TV series Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad.[16] He also enjoys driving his 1986 Buick Regal, which he has customized with hydraulic lifts on the front and back.[3] He also owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Maserati GranTurismo, a Cadillac Escalade, Range Rover, and a 1964 Impala SS.[11]

By September 2013, Chumlee had altered his lifestyle habits, and lost 75 pounds in a year by exercising at a gym six days a week and improving his diet, including drinking more juice, eating more vegetables and abstaining from red meat, a change that was inspired by his father's death at age 54 from pancreatic cancer, two weeks before Pawn Stars debuted.[11]

His girlfriend, Tany Hyjazi, is a chef for a major Las Vegas casino.[11][23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chareunsy, Don (September 10, 2012). "Photos: ‘Pawn Stars’ star Chumlee celebrates his 30th birthday at LAX". Las Vegas Sun.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Chumlee Russell". The History Channel. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c Reed, Cindi (January 27, 2011). "Austin Russell". Vegas Seven. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Boom or Bust". Pawn Stars. Season 1. Episode 1. July 19, 2009. History.
  5. ^ a b "Plane Crazy". Pawn Stars. Season 1. Episode 12. September 13, 2009. History.
  6. ^ a b Katsilometes, John (April 8, 2010). "Pawn shop boys". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Examples include the Old Man's remarks in "Plane Crazy" that Chumlee probably can't spell the word "art", and can barely tie his own shoelaces.
  8. ^ a b Long, Christopher (December 29, 2009). "PAWN STARS (TV SERIES) - DVD review". Movie Metropolis.
  9. ^ a b c "Ready, Set, Pawn". Pawn Stars. Season 3. Episode 18. September 13, 2010. History.
  10. ^ a b Chumlee later displays the ability to repair a gas-powered toy car in "Never Surrender" (Episode 3.25), and expert knowledge in discerning a fake pair of Air Jordan V sneakers in the following episode, "Honest Abe" (Episode 3.26). In that same episode, Corey references Chumlee's knowledge of pinball machines and as well.
  11. ^ a b c d e f Clarke, Norm (September 12, 2013). "It's a crazy life for 'Pawn Stars' Chumlee". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  12. ^ a b Fralic, Shelly (September 17, 2011) "How, in the name of Brad Pitt, did Chumlee become a rock star?". The Vancouver Sun.
  13. ^ a b Chareunsy, Don (September 8, 2012). "Austin ‘Chumlee’ Russell to celebrate 30th birthday tonight at LAX". Las Vegas Sun.
  14. ^ a b Brunner, Rob. "The 'Pawn Stars' Guide to Las Vegas". Men's Journal. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  15. ^ a b "Pawn Stars: When you negotiate with a Pawn Star, you lose...". Maxim (Australia). April 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  16. ^ a b c d Bourdeau, Annette (March 12, 2012). "'Pawn Stars': 13 Things You Didn't Know About Chumlee, Rick And Corey ". The Huffington Post.
  17. ^ Harrison, Rick; Keown, Tim (2011). License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver. Hyperion. 2011. New York. pp. 3, 151 and 204. ISBN 978-1-4013-2430-8
  18. ^ "Moon Walking". Pawn Stars. Season 3. Episode 12. July 12, 2010. History.
  19. ^ Profile for Austin "Chumlee" Russel. Gold and Silver Pawn Shop, Retrieved August 25, 2010
  20. ^ "Some Like It Not". Pawn Stars. Season 5. Episode 55. August 27, 2012. History.
  21. ^ Harrison; Keown; Russell, Wallace (2011). p. 213.
  22. ^ Harrison; Keown; Russell (2011). pp. 215-216.
  23. ^ Rothman, Michael (January 9, 2014). "‘Pawn Stars’ Funnyman Chumlee Sheds 75 Pounds". ABC News.

External links[edit]