People might know him by his nickname Chumlee, but he was born Austin Lee Russell. He was given the nickname around the age of 12 because of having a large face and chin. One of his friend’s fathers said that he looked like the walrus named Chumley from a cartoon and it stuck from there.
Chumlee began to work in the pawn industry at the age of 21. He had been working with the company for 5 years before the series Pawn Stars began in 2009. Since then, his character has provided the comedy relief for the show and he’s often joked about because of a perceived lack of intelligence.
His actual salary is not published. It is rumored that Chumlee makes more than $25,000 per episode and may have a net worth that exceeds $5 million. Some estimates place his net worth even higher, at $8 million.
In 2016, Chumlee plead guilty to a felony weapons charge, attempted drug possession, and the unlawful possession of a firearm. Law enforcement had originally charged him with 20 felony counts. He is still serving a sentence of 3 years of probation and mandatory counseling.
Other Ways That Chumlee Makes Money
Chumlee became an instant fan favorite when Pawn Stars made it to television. Within a year, he had formed his own business to sell novelty items. Products within the business include t-shirts that he designs himself. He also works through that business to arrange paid personal appearances for himself.
In 2010, he sold a 50% stake in his business for $155,000 to handle merchandise orders better. He has also made television appearances on various shows with his co-workers to promote the Pawn Stars brand.
How much Chumlee earns from this entrepreneurial venture is not published, though it is estimated into his overall net worth.
Chumlee has also gone in with his co-workers on other investment ventures. He once purchased a Quizno’s franchise with Corey Harrison that they ran together for some time.
He is also an avid sneaker collector. He reportedly owns more than 200 different pairs of rare shoes and is known to sell them from time to time. If rare shoes come into the pawn store, he is the resident expert that gets called into the conversation to determine value.
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