Pawn Stars first aired in 2009 on the History Channel, and throughout the years, the Las Vegas show has gained in popularity thanks to its lovely cast members. Austin Lee Russell, better known as Chumlee, whose comedic personality really shines through, does play a significant role in the show's success. However, here are some interesting facts about him that the show doesn't tell us. Read on to check out!
1. Not Academically Inclined
Chumlee was born in Nevada, and things were quite difficult for him during his teenage years. He didn't do so well in high school and he even used to pay other students to do his homework. As a result, Chumlee eventually decided to drop out of school altogether.
2. The Story Behind His Name
Apart from having difficulties with his schoolwork, Chumlee had other issues that made his student life really unpleasant. The fans of Pawn Stars all affectionately refer Austin Lee Russell as Chumlee, but few of them know where this nickname came from. Chumlee may sound cute, but it sounds quite insulting when you know it came from the stout walrus from the cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales.
3. From Zero To Hero
Although Chumlee struggled academically and other kids would make fun of his appearance, he had a good friend that he could always rely on. Yes, it was Corey Harrison, or as we all like to call him "Big Hoss." In high school, Chumlee used to hang out along with Corey at his father Rick's Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, where he learned the tricks of the trade. Before Chumlee was put in front of the cameras, he had already worked there full time for five years.
4. Almost Not Cast
When Pawn Stars was in its developmental infancy, the original plan was only to feature the Harrisons: "Old Man" Richard, his son Rick, and "Big Hoss" Corey. Once the cast was expanded to include people outside the family, Chumlee was only one of 10 employees considered for the cast. However, Corey helped convince the producers that Chumlee was the right choice. It turned out that he was right - we can't imagine the show without Chumlee at all!
5. A Positive Attitude
When Chumlee was told to take on the role as a cast member on Pawn Stars, he went in with a very positive and upbeat attitude. "I thought to myself, well, I've known these guys my whole life. We have good camaraderie, and I'm just going to be funny and joke with them as we would normally do," said Chumlee.
6. Guest Star iChumlee
In an unexpected but much-appreciated TV crossover, Chumlee and Big Hoss once made a guest appearance as themselves on the Nickelodeon TV show iCarly, in an episode called "iLost My Head In Vegas."
7. Buying Choices And Preferred Items
Each of the Pawn Stars' cast has a niche area that they are the experts in and are responsible for appraising. Chumlee's specialties include sneakers, video games, and pinball machines. He would also buy items based on his own interests, for instance, anything to do with rap music and games. Some of these objects were unique and fancy, indeed, but they didn't always end up being good choices when it came to making profits.
8. Feeling Underestimated
Chumlee is always made fun of for not being the sharpest tool in the box. However, he has responded to this by claiming that he thinks he is underestimated. Well, we have to admit that Chumlee does have areas where his knowledge excels, for example, with pinball machines, a point which he proved in season 2's episode "Pinball Wizards."
9. What To Watch As A TV Show Star
So what program does a reality show star choose when he has the time to watch TV himself? Chumlee gives us his answer - he is a big fan of shows Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and Boardwalk Empire. Besides, he's also very interested in rap music and punk, as we mentioned before.
10. Love Despite Costly Mistakes
Chumlee had a tendency to make mistakes here and there, but his castmates don’t mind and enjoy teasing him about his mistakes, as we've seen many times on the show. This might be one of the factors that led him to become such a fan-favorite with viewers. However, you probably don't know that Chumlee's mistakes can be really costly - he once carelessly broke a client's upright bass worth over $20,000!
11. Healthier Life Choices
In 2009, Chumlee's father passed away at the age of 54 from a terminal illness. After his tragic passing, Chumlee realized that he needed to exercise more and start a healthier lifestyle. He was motivated to make the change with nutritious eating and exercise, and he managed to lose 75 pounds over 12 months. It's truly an inspiration that everyone can make a change with enough dedication!
12. Chumlee's Candy Store On The Boulevard
Chumlee loved the attention he was receiving, so he launched his own line of personalized merchandise together with his assistant, which led the rest of the cast members to follow and start their own lines too. Nevertheless, Chumlee did more than that - he opened up a candy store in Las Vegas on the strip and named it Chumlee's Candy Store On The Boulevard. The store is located directly across the street from the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.
13. Other Personal Ventures
Beyond that, Chumlee even joined forces with soda and candy company Rocket Fizz in 2019, in order to produce his own soda! The Chumlee root beer is available to purchase now and even features his picture on it. It's absolutely a dream come true, isn't it?
14. What He Does In His Spare Time?
Despite the fact that being a reality TV series star is quite a demanding job, everyone still needs to make time for their hobbies, and Chumlee is no exception. He enjoys playing the Pokemon Trading Card Game as well as skateboarding, video games, and sports when he doesn't need to work.
15. Keeping Things Private
Chumlee enjoyed being in the limelight a bit, but he seemed to like keeping his personal life private. He never talked about how much he earns. Nevertheless, the one thing he did make public was that when he sold his shares in Gold & Silver, he received $155,000.