|Intro||American pawnbroker and television personality|
|A.K.A.||Richard Kevin Harrison|
|From||United States of America|
|Birth||22 March 1965, Ladywood High School, USA|
Richard Kevin Harrison (born March 22, 1965) is an American businessman, reality television personality, and co-owner of the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop which is featured on the History series Pawn Stars. Harrison and his father, Richard Benjamin Harrison, opened the shop in 1989, which they co-owned until his father's death in 2018.
Harrison was born on March 22, 1965, in Lexington, North Carolina, the third child of Richard Benjamin Harrison Jr., a U.S. Navy veteran, and Joanne Rhue Harrison. Harrison is the younger brother of Sherry Joanne Harrison (died at age 6), and Joseph Kent Harrison, and the older brother of Christopher K. Harrison. According to Harrison's son Corey, his grandfather stated that they are related to U.S. President William Henry Harrison. Harrison has indicated that he does not give much credence to this idea, although Harrison's father stated the family is distantly related to Benjamin Harrison, the grandson of William Henry Harrison.
In 1967, when Harrison was two years old, his father was transferred to San Diego, California, where the family relocated. As a child, Harrison suffered from epileptic seizures starting at age eight, which would confine him to bed, and led to a lifelong love of reading. He became particularly enamored of a series of books by John D. Fitzgerald called The Great Brain, whose main character, a ten-year-old Utah con artist named Tom D. Fitzgerald with the ability to conjure up money-making schemes, greatly influenced Harrison.
Harrison developed a love of books in general, in particular on physics and history, with his favorite area of historical study being the Royal Navy, from the late 1700s to the early 1800s. Harrison attended Taft Middle School, which is part of the San Diego Unified School District, but dropped out during tenth grade.
The Harrison family relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, in April 1981 after the collapse of his parents' real estate business. When Harrison was 17, his girlfriend Kim became pregnant. Despite a subsequent miscarriage, the couple decided to marry. Their first child, Corey, was born on April 27, 1983. Within two years, their second child, Adam, was born. Soon after Adam's birth, Harrison and Kim separated. Nine months later Harrison met the woman who would become his second wife, Tracy, on a blind double date. After dating for six months they moved in together, and eight months after this they married, and assumed the responsibility of raising Corey and Adam. Harrison dropped out of high school to pursue his "$2,000-a-week business of selling fake Gucci bags".
In 1981 Harrison's father opened his first 300-square-foot secondhand store, the Gold & Silver Coin Shop, which opened on Las Vegas Boulevard South. Harrison worked for his father in the store in the daytime while repossessing cars at night. After five years the store moved to a larger location on Fremont Street. After two years at that location the Harrisons lost their lease. They subsequently moved into a new building in a commercial neighborhood on Las Vegas Boulevard. Harrison relates in his autobiography that he and his father had long-sought to convert the store into a pawn shop, calling it a "logical progression." Because of a 1955 Las Vegas law requiring the issuing of new pawn licenses to be limited on the basis of the city's population, which by 1988 was over 200,000 and rapidly growing, Harrison called the city statistician every week, so that they could apply for a rare and much-coveted pawn license as soon as the city's population reached 250,000. By 1989 the city's population reached that number and after some legal struggles, the Harrisons obtained their pawn license. That year Harrison and his father opened the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop less than two miles from the Las Vegas Strip. By 2005, Harrison and his father were loaning out about $3 million annually, which brought them about $700,000 in interest income.
By 2006, the shop had developed a reputation for carrying special sports items with unique histories, including a 2001 New England Patriots Super Bowl ring that belonged to American football cornerback Brock Williams. It also served gamblers who, according to Harrison's son Corey, often came in to "pawn something so they have gas to get back home."
According to Harrison in 2010, the items most often brought into the store are jewelry. Since the inception of Pawn Stars, Harrison's inventory typically has a ratio of 5,000 items pawned per 12,000.
Television and fame
Harrison spent four years pitching the idea of making a show about a pawn shop after his shop was featured in the show Insomniac with Dave Attell in 2003, but his efforts did not yield success. In 2008, Brent Montgomery and Colby Gaines of Leftfield Pictures came up with an idea about a reality show based in a Las Vegas pawn shop and approached Harrison. The series was originally pitched to HBO, though the network preferred the series to have been a Taxicab Confessions-style series taking place at the Gold & Silver's night window. In a February 2009 YouTube video titled "Pawn star$", Corey Harrison promised to gun down an intruder with a handgun he displayed, and a woman screamed as she was removed from the store after demanding that the wedding ring her husband sold to the shop be returned.
Nancy Dubuc of the History Channel changed the format, which included on-camera experts appraising the items brought into the Gold & Silver as well as personality dynamics of the store's staff and patrons. Initially to have been titled Pawning History, the program was renamed Pawn Stars at the suggestion of a Leftfield staffer, playing off the term "porn stars" for more marketing appeal. The show features Harrison and his father, Richard Harrison (generally referred to on the show as "The Old Man") along with his son Corey ("Big Hoss") and Corey's childhood friend and employee Austin "Chumlee" Russell. Richard Harrison died in June 2018, during production of the fifteenth season. In 2010, the National Pawnbrokers Association awarded the Pawnbroker of the Year Award to Harrison for his contributions in enlightening the public about the pawn industry.
In January 2011, Pawn Stars was the highest rated program on the History Channel, and the second-highest rated reality show behind Jersey Shore. On June 7 2011, Harrison published a biography called License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver. His book reached #22 on The New York Times Best Seller list on June 26, 2011.
Harrison appeared as himself, alongside his son Corey and Chumlee, in "i Lost My Head in Vegas", the November 3, 2012 episode of the American TV series iCarly. Four days later, he appeared as an antique store owner in "The Safe", the November 7, 2012 episode of the TV series The Middle.
In January 2014, Harrison became spokesperson for the Micro Touch One Razor, a personal care shaving product for men. Harrison appeared in a television commercial promoting the One Razor product line. In June 2014, History premiered United Stuff of America, a series from the producers of Pawn Stars that focuses on notable artifacts that were used in important moments in history, such as the cane with which Andrew Jackson fended off a presidential assassin, the axe Abraham Lincoln used as a young rail splitter, and the pencils Ulysses S. Grant used to write his memoirs. In July 2014, the game show Pawnography premiered on the History Channel, in which Harrison, Corey, and Chumlee compete against players in an attempt to prevent them from winning cash and items from the inventory of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.
In 2012, Harrison, twice divorced, announced his engagement to Deanna Burditt, who was also twice divorced. The couple married on July 21, 2013, in Laguna Beach, California. Counting Cars star and car expert Danny Koker became an ordained minister and performed the ceremony, while Pawn Stars costar Austin "Chumlee" Russell served as a ring bearer.
Harrison has two sons, Corey and Adam, with his first wife Kim, and one son, Jake, with his second wife, Tracy. Adam worked at the pawn shop, and later became a plumber. He has no plans to appear on the show.