The reality TV star, Chumlee is one of the main casts of the reality TV show, Pawn Stars. He has endeared himself to fans with his striking sense of humor and heart of gold. Although the latter has been cited as not so good quality to have in business, Chumlee has gone on to establish himself as a successful businessman who runs a novelty items company and a popular candy shop in Las Vegas.
More so, he has other acting credits asides his appearances in Pawn Stars. He made his directorial debut in 2013 with a short documentary movie titled, Driven: The Story of Tanner Godfrey, which he also edited and produced. To learn more about the life of the American enterpriser and if he is really dead, scroll further.
Who is Chumlee?
In Henderson, Nevada, Chumlee was born Austin Lee Russell on the 8th of September 1982. He was born into a family of five and details of his parents are unavailable, except that his father passed on from cancer of the pancreas at the age of 54. Chumlee has two siblings; a brother called Sage and a sister who goes by the name Terra. While growing up, Chumlee became best of friends with his now co-star on Pawn Stars, Corey “Big Boss” Harrison.
Having brewed a great friendship with Corey, he got acquainted with his family and his father gave him the alias “Chumlee” (after a walrus sidekick called Chumley from the animated series Tennessee Tuxedo) when he was twelve years of age. He then became part of their family business: a Las Vegas-based Pawnshop called Gold and Silver, at the age of twenty-one. From there, he moved on to build an illustrious career as a businessman and a TV personality as well.
What Is He Famous For?
In 2004, Chumlee took a heavy step which eventually became pivotal in his career by becoming an employee at the Gold and Silver Pawn Shop owned by Corey Harrison’s late grandfather, Richard Benjamin Harrison, and father, Rick Harrison. Even though the 24-hour family business has been running since 1989, it gained mainstream attention in July 2009, when it became the subject of History Channel’s reality show, Pawn Stars.
Pawn Stars is a reality TV show that is filmed in Gold and Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas and produced by Leftfield Pictures. Currently in its 17th season, the series showcases how Richard Benjamin Harrison’s family evaluate, purchase and sell antique items of the historic times on a daily basis. Its first episode was debuted on 19th July 2009 and it has been running since then on History Channel and A+E Networks. Its main cast members include Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison, Chumlee, and Richard Benjamin Harrison who passed away in 2018.
Through the depictions of their daily business operations, the show grew popular, as well as it’s cast members, and thus, became the highest-rated show on the TV network. Chumlee whose work at the shop involves customer service, test, and loading of items, has now become the show’s fan favorite. Though he sometimes gets ridiculed for his incompetence at the job, he has proved his expertise in some other areas. They include video games, pinball machines, sneakers, and gas-powered toy cars.
Having garnered much popularity on the show, Austin Russell began a novelty items company where he sells personally designed items like T-shirts. He then became a partner with his co-star, Rick Harrison in 2010, when he purchased half of the company for $155,000. He later diversified into candy business in May 2017, when he launched Chumlee Candy on Boulevard Shop next to the popular Gold and Silver Pawn Shop.
Beyond his appearances on Pawn Stars, Chumlee has also appeared in Bob Dylan: Like a Rolling Stone, Counting Cars, iCarly, Pop Star, America Restoration, Pawnography, Top Gear USA, among other shows.
What We Know About His Relationship/Married Life
Prior to tying the knot with his now-wife, Olivia Rademann, Chumlee was in a highly publicized relationship with Tanya Hyjazi, a chef at Las Vegas-based Stack Restaurant and Bar. The pair dated from 2013 to early 2016 when the actor had legal issues. He even sponsored her breast implants, as they made headlines across many news channels during their time together.
He then hooked up with Olivia Rademann – who runs an eyelashes business and also a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara – when he was having legal problems. And even though they had known each other for years, they only got serious with the relationship in May 2018, when Chumlee proposed to the Instagram model with a one and a half-carat diamond ring at Royal Hawaiian Waikiki, Hawaii.
He celebrated his engagement in August 2018 with his brother and Olivia’s family at Andiamo Italian Steakhouse situated in Las Vegas. Later in March 2019, the businessman hosted a pre-wedding party at the Detroit Ballroom at D-Hotel, Las Vegas, which was graced by some eminent personalities including Rick and Corey Harrison. Two months later, the lovely couple tied the knots in a private wedding held in Hawaii. They are happily married, as Chumlee hopes to create a candy and eyelash business empire someday, together with his wife, Olivia.
Why Was Chumlee Arrested?
Chumlee had a run-in with the law in March 2016, when he was being investigated for sexual assault. In the process, his home was raided, and multiple firearms for which some are registered to his name were found alongside hard substances such as marijuana, crystal meth, and evidence of possible use of cocaine.
He was later apprehended by the police but was granted bail the next day. Having been charged with multiple felony counts, the famed enterpriser pleaded guilty to the charges. He eventually escaped a jail sentence and was handed three years probation and counseling.
How True Are The Death Rumors?
Chumlee has twice been a victim of a death hoax. In May 2013, the Internet Chronicle website wrote in one of their articles that the reality TV star had passed on. The news came as a shock to many who began to pay tribute to him. The website claimed that he died from an overdose of marijuana.
May we live long, Rich forever.
— Austin Russell (@chumlee_) March 12, 2014
Similarly in early 2014, another entertainment website, eBuzzd also alleged that Chumlee had passed on from heart attack. They further claimed they his death was triggered by his incessant weight loss habit, which didn’t go quite well with his body system. Chumlee however, debunked the rumor by posting “May we live long, Rich forever” on his Twitter handle on 12th March 2014.
Breaking news: CHUMLEE IS ALIVE & WELL! He is actually filming today but we all really appreciate everyone's concern!
— Rick Harrison (@GoldSilverPawn) March 12, 2014
On the same day, Rick Harrison also tweeted that his co-star is alive and well, which then put the swirling rumor to rest. As of this writing, Chumlee is very much alive and kicking. He is still being featured on Pawn Stars and has taken drastic measures concerning his body weight which has reduced from 344 lbs to 230 lbs. He underwent a gastric sleeve surgery in February 2018, and he is currently following a healthy diet plan as he has hired a fitness trainer, who is helping him to convert between 10 to 20 lbs of fat into muscle.