Chumlee

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Chumlee
Chumlee from Pawn Stars (cropped).jpg
Chumlee in November 2010.
Born Austin Lee Russell
(1982-09-08) September 8, 1982 (age 34)[1]
United States
Occupation Businessman, television personality
Years active 2003–present

Austin Lee Russell (born September 8, 1982),[2] better known by his stage name of Chumlee, is an American actor, businessman and 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.[3][4] Chumlee came to work at the pawn shop five years before filming of the first season,[5][6] having been a childhood friend of Corey Harrison,[3] whose father, Rick Harrison, and grandfather, Richard Benjamin Harrison, opened the shop in 1989.[7]

On the show, he is often portrayed as the comic foil,[5][8][9][10] but often appraises items in his area of expertise of pinball machines, sneakers and video games,[11] and is considered the breakout character of the series.[12][13][14][15][16]

Early life[edit]

Russell was given the nickname "Chumlee" when he was about 12 years old, due to his large face and chin. The father of one of his friends once stated that he looked like the walrus, Chumley, from the animated TV series Tennessee Tuxedo.[3][10][17] As a child he became good friends with Corey "Big Hoss" Harrison,[3] whose father, Rick Harrison, and grandfather, Richard Harrison, opened the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in 1989.[7] Russell and Corey often spent time in the pawn shop as children.[3]

Career[edit]

Chumlee began working for the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop at age 21,[18] having worked there for five years before filming the first season of the reality television series Pawn Stars in July 2009.[5][6] His duties include behind-the-counter work at the shop, such as testing items, loading items, and writing tickets for items purchased by customers.[19][20]

Russell in 2014

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,[8] for which he has been referred to as a "village idiot".[5][9][10][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.[11]

Chumlee emerged as the breakout character,[12][13][14][15][16] and a fan favorite of the series.[22] 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 his stake in the company in 2010 to Rick Harrison for $155,000, so that the shop could handle orders of his merchandise more efficiently.[23] Chumlee's sales of merchandise have surpassed other stars of the show, due to his popularity.[22]

Chumlee appeared as himself, alongside Rick and Corey Harrison, in the episode "iLost My Head in Vegas", on the former American TV series iCarly.

Personal life[edit]

Chumlee enjoys collecting shoes, as he owns more than 200 pairs. He also enjoys sports, the Pokemon TCG, video games and skateboarding. He is a fan of both punk rock music and rap music.[4][12] He is a fan of the TV series Boardwalk Empire, Sons of Anarchy and Breaking Bad.[22] He also enjoys driving his 1986 Buick Regal, which he has customized with hydraulic lifts on the front and back.[4] He also owns a Rolls-Royce Phantom, a Maserati GranTurismo, a Cadillac Escalade, Range Rover, and a 1964 Impala SS.[12]

By September 2013, Chumlee had altered his lifestyle habits and lost 75 lb (34 kg) 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.[12] Chumlee's diet has enabled him to be able to ride a hovercraft he had purchased earlier in the series, but could not ride before due to a maximum weight restriction of 250 lb (110 kg).

His girlfriend, Tanya Hyjazi, is a chef for a major Las Vegas casino.[12][24]

Legal troubles[edit]

On March 9, 2016, Chumlee's home was raided during the course of an investigation into sexual assault allegations. During the search, police found crystal meth, marijuana and one firearm. On a later search, police found eleven more legally owned firearms, ranging from handguns to a shotgun, MP5, and .223-caliber rifles. Most of the firearms were found in a bedroom vault safe, along with 17 multi-dose ‘bars’ of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax and seven capsules containing small amounts of methamphetamine, police said. Police also found evidence of possible cocaine use on the property. Subsequently, Chumlee was arrested.

He was released on bond the following day. His first appearance in court was set for March 11, 2016.[25][26][27]

On May 23, 2016, Chumlee was charged with 20 felony counts, including drug and weapons charges. David Chesnoff, Russell's lawyer, confirmed that the reality TV star pleaded guilty to a felony weapons charge; unlawful possession of a firearm; and to a gross misdemeanor of attempted drug possession in a deal which calls for three years probation and counseling.[28][29]

In popular culture[edit]

Chumlee was used as a template for a supporting character appearing in the anime franchise Little Witch Academia.[30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Chareunsy, Don (September 10, 2012). "Photos: ‘Pawn Stars’ star Chumlee celebrates his 30th birthday at LAX". Las Vegas Sun.
  2. ^ "Austin 'Chumlee' Russell". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Chumlee Russell". The History Channel. Retrieved June 16, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c Reed, Cindi (January 27, 2011). "Austin Russell". Vegas Seven. Retrieved 2013-02-25. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Boom or Bust". Pawn Stars. Season 1. Episode 1. July 19, 2009. History. 
  6. ^ a b "Plane Crazy". Pawn Stars. Season 1. Episode 12. September 13, 2009. History. 
  7. ^ a b Katsilometes, John (April 8, 2010). "Pawn shop boys". Las Vegas Weekly. Retrieved May 22, 2013. 
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ a b Long, Christopher (December 29, 2009). "PAWN STARS (TV SERIES) - DVD review". Movie Metropolis.
  10. ^ a b c "Ready, Set, Pawn". Pawn Stars. Season 3. Episode 18. September 13, 2010. History. 
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Clarke, Norm (September 12, 2013). "It's a crazy life for 'Pawn Stars' Chumlee". Las Vegas Review-Journal.
  13. ^ a b Fralic, Shelly (September 17, 2011) "How, in the name of Brad Pitt, did Chumlee become a rock star?". The Vancouver Sun.
  14. ^ a b Chareunsy, Don (September 8, 2012). "Austin ‘Chumlee’ Russell to celebrate 30th birthday tonight at LAX". Las Vegas Sun.
  15. ^ a b Brunner, Rob. "The 'Pawn Stars' Guide to Las Vegas". Men's Journal. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  16. ^ a b "Pawn Stars: When you negotiate with a Pawn Star, you lose...". Maxim (Australia). April 2013. Retrieved December 1, 2013.
  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. ^ a b c Bourdeau, Annette (March 12, 2012). Has a large fan base in many countries like India, China, Sri lanka. Once Samanvay Lamba remarked him as his favourite character."'Pawn Stars': 13 Things You Didn't Know About Chumlee, Rick And Corey ". The Huffington Post.
  23. ^ Harrison; Keown; Russell (2011). pp. 215-216.
  24. ^ Rothman, Michael (January 9, 2014). "‘Pawn Stars’ Funnyman Chumlee Sheds 75 Pounds". ABC News.
  25. ^ "Chumlee from 'Pawn Stars' arrested on drug and gun charges". NY Daily News. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  26. ^ "'Pawn Stars' boss Rick Harrison 'here to help' Austin 'Chumlee' Russell after his arrest". Fox News. 2016-03-10. Retrieved 2016-03-10. 
  27. ^ "Pawn Stars' Austin 'Chumlee' Russell Known for Partying Hard, Says Source: 'He Has a Gun and Smokes a Lot of Weed'". www.msn.com. Retrieved 2016-03-16. 
  28. ^ "'Chumlee' of 'Pawn Stars' won't see jail on guns, drugs charges". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  29. ^ "‘Pawn Stars’ star Chumlee takes plea deal to avoid jail". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  30. '^ Sherman, Jennifer: "Pawn Stars Chumlee Appears in Little Witch Academia Anime". Anime News Network, January 24, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2017.

External links[edit]