Chumlee, the lovable star of Pawn Stars, has been working at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop since his early 20s. He may not be the smartest or the most skilled pawnbroker, but he has a knack for finding treasures in unexpected places. He is also a fan of video games, sneakers, and pinball machines, and he loves to make people laugh with his jokes and antics. But behind his cheerful smile, he has faced some serious challenges in his life. He has struggled with his weight for years and underwent gastric sleeve surgery to lose 160 lbs and improve his health. He has also dealt with legal issues involving guns and drugs, which he resolved by pleading guilty and completing counseling and probation. And he has experienced heartbreak when his marriage to Olivia Rademann ended in divorce after only a year. Through it all, he has remained optimistic and resilient, and has the support of his friends and family. In this article, we will bring everything to know about Chumlee.
How Rich is Chumlee?
Chumlee, whose real name is Austin Lee Russell, is a famous American businessman and reality TV star. He is best known for his role on the History Channel show Pawn Stars, which follows the daily operations of the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chumlee works at the pawn shop as a friend and employee of Corey Harrison, the son of the shop’s owner Rick Harrison. As of 2023, Chumlle has a net worth of $7 million which he earned from his television career and different business endeavors.
Chumlee was born as Austin Lee Russell on the 8th of September 1982, in Henderson, Nevada. He is three of the children of his parents and comes from mixed-ethnic Mexican, Scottish, and Native American descent. His siblings are Sage Russell and Terra Russell.
Chumlee got his nickname when he was in his early teenage years because his large face and chin reminded his friend’s father of Chumley, the walrus from the cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo. He became friends with Corey Harrison in childhood whose family owned the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. Growing up he would hang around the shop but had no idea one day he would be employed there. Chumlee started working at Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in his early 20s and later became a star of the hit show Pawn Stars.
Joining Pawn Stars:
When the producers of History Network knocked at the door of Gold & Silver Pawnshop, the Harrison trio was more than ready to star on their TV show. Chumlee had been working at the shop for five years, and when Rick Harrison wanted someone to join the team as the fourth member, Austin was the first to put up his hand. Since then, Rick Harrison, Richard “Old Man” Harrison, Corey “Big Hoss” Harrison, and Austin Lee Russell, have been a staple of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. The group is also at the center of the reality TV show, Pawn Stars. Chumlee discussed the circumstances of his hiring at the Podkats podcast.
“They were making a short episode and we had about 12 employees at the time. 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.”
Chumlee’s television career started in July 2009, when he began filming the first season of the reality television series Pawn Stars. A real comic foil in the cast, Chumlee can be seen making funny mistakes and jokes. He has also shown his knowledge and passion for certain items, such as pinball machines, sneakers, video games and pop-culture memorabilia. Chumlee appeared in every season of Pawn Stars which has 21 seasons as of 2023 making over 363 appeareances. Meanwhile, he also had to cope with the changing dynamics of the show and the pawn shop, as new cast members joined and old ones left. Chumlee has also made guest appearances on other TV shows, such as iCarly, The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Live! With Kelly, and Top Gear.
A reality TV series that depicts the daily business at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas, where Chumlee works as a pawnbroker and appraiser of items such as pinball machines, sneakers, and video games. He is often portrayed as the comic foil and the “village idiot” of the show, but he is also a fan favorite and a successful businessman who sells his own merchandise and owns a candy shop.
Over 363 episodes
A comedy TV series that follows the adventures of a teenage girl who runs a popular web show with her friends. Chumlee appeared as himself, alongside Rick and Corey Harrison, in the episode “iLost My Head in Vegas”, where they help the main characters retrieve a valuable prop from the pawn shop.
A game show spin-off of Pawn Stars, where contestants compete against Rick, Corey, and Chumlee in trivia questions related to history and pop culture. Chumlee serves as a lifeline for the contestants and provides comic relief.
A British motoring magazine show that features various challenges, races, and reviews of cars. Chumlee appeared as himself, alongside Rick and Corey Harrison, in the episode “American Road Trip”, where they test drive three classic American cars across Nevada.
A reality TV series that follows Danny Koker and his team of car experts as they restore and customize classic vehicles in Las Vegas. Chumlee appeared as himself in the episode “Chumlee’s Challenge”, where he picks up his custom 1963 Lincoln from Danny’s shop.
He also tried his hands on the production and revealed that he was working on a vintage fashion project that drew inspiration from pawn stars.
“I have one idea that is basically in the fashion industry, the vintage side of the fashion industry. It’s a similar vibe to what we do here at the shop. It’s an under-repped demographic, and I just partnered with a really big production company and made the pilot last year. We’re going to re-work the pilot and try to sell it, so I’ll be on the producer’s side of the camera.”
However, the show did not get the green light and his only credit as a producer is for the short film Driven: The Story of Tanner Godfrey.
Chumlee gathered a massive fan following from his appearances in Pawn Stars and decided to expand his business. He formed his own company selling novelty items and merchandise based on his popularity on the show. He sold half of his stake in the company to Rick Harrison in 2010 for $155,000. He has a candy shop entitled Chumlee’s Candy on The Boulevard just across from the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. He opened this shop with his brother Sage in 2017 and sells various kinds of candy and confections, as well as Chumlee-related merchandise. He launched a new product called Chumlee’s Awesome Jerky in 2023. The product is a beef jerky made with natural ingredients and no preservatives. Chumlee said he wanted to create a healthy snack that he could enjoy himself.
Girlfriend Tanya Hyjazi:
Chumlee has had his share of ups and downs in his love life. He met his first girlfriend, Tanya Hyjazi in 2013 who is Lebanese-American. She was a chef at a Las Vegas casino, and they hit it off right away. She even appeared on an episode of Pawn Stars with him. But their relationship didn’t last long, and they broke up around 2015. Chumlee then faced some legal troubles in 2016, when he was arrested for gun and drug possession. He pleaded guilty and avoided jail time, but had to undergo counseling and probation.
Marriage & Divorce:
Chumlee found love again with Olivia Rademann, a student and aspiring eyelash boutique owner. They were friends for a year before they started dating in 2016. They got engaged in May 2018 in Hawaii, and had a lavish pre-wedding party in Las Vegas with their friends and family, including Rick and Corey Harrison.
They tied the knot in August 2019 in Hawaii again, in a private ceremony. They enjoyed their honeymoon by snorkeling, hiking, and relaxing on the beach. Chumlee shared many photos of their travels on social media, showing off his weight loss and his happiness.
But their marriage hit a rough patch soon after, when Olivia moved to South Carolina for her studies. The long-distance took a toll on their relationship, and they decided to separate in early 2020. Chumlee deleted all their photos from his Instagram account and posted a cryptic quote about happiness.
Following the split Chumlee focused on his work at the pawn shop, his candy store, and his health. He lost over 150 pounds with the help of gastric sleeve surgery and lifestyle changes. He also tried to help others who were struggling with their weight by sharing his tips and motivation. As of now, Chumlee is single and has no kids. He is living his life to the fullest, and hoping to find love again someday.
Chumlee had been on a roller coaster ride with his weight for years. He tried different diets and exercises, but nothing seemed to stick. He would lose some pounds, then gain them back, and then some more. He was frustrated and unhappy with his body and health. He weighed 350 lbs. at his heaviest in January 2019 and decided to make a big change. He underwent gastric sleeve surgery, which reduced his stomach size by 75 to 80%. He also started eating cleaner, working out regularly, and surrounding himself with supportive people. He was determined to turn his life around and become a healthier and happier person.
And he did it! In less than three years, he lost an incredible 160 pounds, going from 350 to 190. He now looks like a completely different person, with a slimmer figure and a brighter smile. He is proud of his transformation and wants to inspire others who are struggling with their weight.
Chumlee Wiki/Bio Facts:
Austin Lee Russell
Date of birth
September 8, 1982
40 years old
Place of birth
Henderson, Nevada, U.S.
Sage Russell, and Terra Russell
Businessman, Television personality
$7 million (as of 2023)
5 ft 9 in (175 cm) [approx]
190 lbs (86 kg) (after weight loss)
Chumlee, Chum, The Village Idiot
Origin of nickname
Given by the father of his childhood friend who thought he looked like Chumley the walrus from Tennessee Tuxedo