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Chumlee Plead Guilty; Say Goodbye To ‘Pawn Stars’

Pawn Stars is a reality show everybody’s heard of, but most of them that watch it, do so for the character of Chumlee. Some claim that this 36-year-old’s clumsiness is what attracts so many fans toward the TV show. That might not surprise us as Austin Lee Russell – a.k.a. Chumlee – really spices up the show with silly jokes and funny moments.

But while he might seem like the most chilled guy ever on screen, Chumlee has been going through some rough times. Needless to say, he was feeling pressured, anxious and stressed. But what caused so much pain for this funny guy? He revealed in an interview unusual things that nobody expected of him. We would like him to overcome this set of bad events, but where did it all start? Did all these things change him?

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1. Problems Arising

This 36-years-old television personality only came to work at the pawn shop five years before the filming started. And ever since he made huge success in this field, appraising items in his areas of interest.

But beneath all those comic puns and laughter he spreads around him, there is something laying that is everything but comic. Recently, things haven’t really been going in the right direction for him. What could it be?

2. Early Nevada Beginnings

What makes a big impact on everybody’s life, and Chumlee is no exception, is the high school environment and our social behavior. It seems that this Nevada native didn’t really start well in high school.

Supposedly, he had a habit of paying other students to do his homework instead of him. Not only did he ignore the importance of education, but he also dropped out from school. Probably his lack of studying routines led to it.

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3. Mocking Nickname

While at first Chumlee nickname might sound utterly cute, it actually isn’t. Russell was given this nickname in his teenage years and can you guess what it meant?

Source: YouTube Screenshot

Actually, it was a reference to Chumley, a walrus character from the 60s cartoon Tennessee Tuxedo and His Tales. If it isn’t obvious yet, the walrus was quite a corpulent character. The Chumlee nickname actually referred to his body weight, ouch!

4. Childhood Friendship

There’s another thing he kept from his young, childhood years. He maintained the friendship with Corey Harrison, the Pawn Stars co-star. The two hung out often at the Gold&Silver Pawn Shop when they were younger.

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Little did they know then that this same shop will become a huge revenue for both of them. When Russel turned 21, he started working at the store full time.

5. Pawn Shop Luck

Although pawnbroker job indeed requires excellent selling and negotiating skills, as well as being informed with laws, it usually isn’t a kind of job that brings fame. Russell, as well as his co-workers didn’t expect what was about to come.

Five years after his employment at Gold&Silver, Chumlee found himself in front of cameras and got not only nationwide, but also worldwide fame thanks to his childhood friendship.

6. Chumlee The Comic Foil

As the reality show was gaining success, Russell indulged more and more in his comic relief-type role. He seemed to enjoy being the crowd’s clown and he completely surrendered to this role.

Image: via The Wolf Report

He used his personal interests – sneakers, video games, pinball and rap- to target the items he liked. But these weren’t the items that were especially good for the shop’s business.

7. Silly Anecdote

A part of his funny character is also the fact that he makes a lot of silly mistakes. This isn’t something he staged only for the filming of the show. In fact, his silly anecdotes date to before the show even aired.

Image: via TV Series

Russell once placed a customer’s stand-up double bass poorly balanced against a shelf. The bass fell and smashed to hundreds of pieces. He previously said that the bass would have been worth $20,000 intact. Oops!

8. Chumlee The Duffer

His cast members often make fun of him for his funny clumsiness. This combination of his funny and clumsy character made him a the show’s biggest star.

Fans loved him so much that even in the early year’s of the show, he was guarded by bodyguards whenever he and his co-stars made live appearances. His fame escalated quite quickly!

9. Pawn Shop’s Biggest Star

In the beginning, Russell adored everything about his newfound fame, and didn’t hide it at all. He employed his own personal assistant. And he even made his own brand of personalized merchandise.


He wasn’t the only one to have a line of personalized gadgets and products, of course. The other show’s stars did too. But it seemed that Chumlee’s stuff was by far the best selling.

10. A Business Aware Bumbler

While Russell doesn’t really like to talk much about how much he earns. It is known that he sold 50% of his share in Gold & Silver back to Rick Harrison for $155,000!

Reportedly, Chumlee decided to do so in order to focus on merch sales. It seems that no matter how much he might look like a goofball with no serious intentions, he still has some businessman attitude.

11. Unexpected Loss

A fortnight before Pawn Stars aired for the first time, Russell’s father tragically passed away of pancreatic cancer at the age of only 54. This was a huge kick in the stomach for Russell.

Since then, he was inspired to take good care of himself. Even if he was never on the skinny and fit side, he decided to start eating healthier and exercising more.

12. A New Chumlee

Even if that seemed quite improbable, Russell committed to going 6 times a week to the gym. He started drinking fruit smoothies every morning and stopped eating red meat.

Source: YouTube Screenshot

Even if no one expected it, Chumlee underwent an impressive metamorphosis. Thanks to his new rigorous health plan, he inspired a lot of people and made switching to a healthy lifestyle seem less difficult.

13. New Things Coming

Not only did Russell manage to shed 75 pounds between 2012 and 2013, but he also made some other great things happen to him thanks to his weight loss. He enjoyed riding a hovercraft he was previously too heavy to use.

Source: YouTube Screenshot

And as a result of his change in lifestyle he found a girlfriend that he’s in a long-term relationship with. Her name is Tanya Hyjazi and she’s a chef at the Mirage Casino’s STACK Restaurant & Bar.

14. What Is Wrong Then?

Having all that in mind, it seems that Russell really has a great life, but that’s not true. Where did everything go wrong then? And why?


The first problem he faced appeared in March 2016, when he was charged for sexual assault by a fellow employee at the shop. Eventually, the charges were dropped due to insufficient evidence. But his problems only started here.

15. On The Radar

When he was charged for sexual assault, the police had to raid Russell’s home as a part of a regular investigation. And while there were no evidence that would prove him guilty for the case, they did find something.


The police uncovered marijuana, crystal meth and a gun. A definite wrong combination to find in one’s home. All of those were more than enough to put Chumlee on the police’s radar. What could come next?

16. Second Unfortunate Raid

Finding drugs and a gun in his home, made the police look for reasons to raid his home again. And they did, the second raid revealed much more. The police found additional 11 firearms, of which most of them weren’t even registered.

As if it could go any worse, the police found yet more drugs and potential evidence related to cocaine use. This all couldn’t lead to anything else but to arrest.

17. Russell on Court

Only after a couple of months, Russell ended up with a total of 20 different felony counts. Suddenly, everything piled on his head. The stress he experienced was obviously hard to bear.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Luckily for him, he wasn’t faced with a much more difficult situation. The court could have ruled that the firearms found at his home were intended for any kind of illegal use. That would have been the real hell for him.

18. Probation Period

Russell pleaded guilty to unlawful weapon possession and misdemeanor attempted drug possession charges. Luckily, this way he managed to avoid any prison time.

Source: YouTube/TMZ

Instead, the court ordered a probation time until 2019, and if he behaves under the strictly defined conditions, he will end up with only misdemeanor charge on his record. He also has to attend regular counseling in order to improve his decisions.

19. Fan Support

With all the controversy that was around Russell and his career, he still didn’t lose his fame. His fans provided him with a lot of love and support he wasn’t even expecting to get.

Source: YouTube/Las Vegas

In an interview by the end of 2016, he spoke about difficulties that he was going through that year and showed his gratitude towards his fans that maintained their support in the worst of times.

20. Staying In The Show

But will he stay in the Pawn Stars? After much speculation, reports suggested that work has officially begun on its 14th season. And Russell was still very much involved.

Source: YouTube Screenshot

Staying in the show must be really important for him, as it might help him get back to normal. We hope he will recover soon from the issues that he encountered and learn from the bad experiences.

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