1982-09-08 to Present
Henderson, Nevada, U.S.Austin Lee Russell (born September 8, 1982), better known by his stage name Chumlee, is an American 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. Chumlee came to work at the pawn shop five years before filming of the first season, having been a childhood friend of Corey Harrison, whose father, Rick Harrison, and grandfather, Richard Benjamin Harrison, opened the shop in 1989.
Chumlee worked there for five years before filming the first season of the reality television series Pawn Stars in July 2009. His duties include behind-the-counter work at the shop, such as testing items, loading items, and writing tickets for items purchased by customers.
Chumlee emerged as the breakout cast member, and a fan favorite of the series. As a result of the show's success, he formed his own company selling novelty items of his own design and arranged 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. Chumlee's sales of merchandise have surpassed other stars of the show, due to his popularity.
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.
On March 9, 2016, Chumlee's home was raided during the course of an investigation into sexual assault allegations. During searches of his residence, police found crystal meth, marijuana, Xanax, and multiple firearms. Evidence of possible cocaine use was also found. Subsequently, Chumlee was arrested.
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 pled guilty to a felony weapons charge (unlawful possession of a firearm) and a gross misdemeanor of attempted drug possession in a deal which calls for three years of probation and counseling.