You will find plenty of merchandise featuring "Pawn Stars" cast member Austin "Chumlee" Russell at the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas — everything from Chumlee bobbleheads, golf balls and Chumberry lip balm to "Chumlee is my homeboy" and "Vote Chumlee for President" T-shirts — but you likely won't see the 29-year-old reality TV star walking around the store during his shift.
"It put a kink in sales right away because everyone wanted pictures," said Chumlee over the phone from Las Vegas last month. "It was no longer a private area for the guy trying to pawn a ring to get food."
That's not to say Chumlee hasn't enjoyed the fame.
The Las Vegas native, nicknamed after the walrus on the 1960s cartoon “Tennessee Tuxedo and his Tales,” has translated his popularity into a new clothing line (Mammoth Unltd.) and trade show appearances (Chumlee and
"Ozzie is a huge fan of ("Pawn Stars")," Chumlee said. "We got to go to his dressing room before a show. He shook my hand and said, 'Hey, I love the interaction between you and The Old Man.'"
In addition to the old-school vs. new-school interaction between the long-haired Chumlee and the grumpy-but-likable Old Man, the show, now in its fifth season, offers viewers brief history lessons on the rare items brought into the store for pawning, as well as brief background on the people trying to sell them. Viewers often find themselves pulling for the desperate seller during the bargaining process rather than the experienced buyers at Gold & Silver, but the show's stars are still as popular as ever.
“We take pictures everywhere we go,” said Chumlee, who has more than 117,000 followers on
Heads up: Oscar-nominated actress Mariel Hemingway will meet with media in
On the record: "People ask me all the time about which amazing restaurants they should go to, and I’ve got nothing. I could tell you to get a great $1.50 slice of pizza at this little place across the street from Loyola, but that’s it." --
Speaking of Arlington Heights: Good luck to Arlington Heights native Jonathan Spector, Homer Glen native