Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What's Come Out About The Old Man From Pawn Stars Since He Died

Characters on TV shows die all the time, but reality television complicates things. When a colorful, well-known personality from a non-scripted TV series passes away, the death is extremely not-make-believe for fans and co-stars alike. Richard Harrison, a.k.a. "the Old Man," star of the long-running trash n' treasures-meets-workplace series Pawn Stars, died in 2018 at the age of 77. The gruff, always nattily-dressed Harrison owned and opened the World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, a 24-hour store in Las Vegas, and over the years brought his son Rick Harrison, grandson Corey Harrison, and family friend Austin Russell (Chumlee) on board to run the shop. It made for consistent, fun television... up until the Old Man passed on.

A combination of a TV star and TV character, viewers welcomed Harrison into their homes over several hundred episodes. His presence from the pawn shop and Pawn Stars will be missed. Here are some things the world has learned about the Old Man since he passed on.

How he died

Richard Harrison died on June 25, 2018, at the age of 77. Pawn Stars' Rick Harrison confirmed his father's passing via Instagram. Underneath a stylish shot of the Old Man sporting a hat, sunglasses, and a stern glare, the younger Harrison wrote that the pawn patriarch "passed away this morning surrounded by those he loved. He will be tremendously missed by our family, the team at Gold & Silver Pawn and his many fans the world over." Later that day, Rick Harrison released another photo of the Old Man (as a young man) to Instagram, revealing that the elder Harrison had "lost his long battle with Parkinson's this morning." Very few people outside of Harrison's inner circle knew that he was sick, so his death was a surprise to most — as was the cause, a devastating, progressive neurological condition.

Shortly after the Old Man died, Pawn Stars' Austin "Chumlee" Russell" told TMZ that "we had kind of had been preparing for it for a while now, and I spent quite a bit of time at his house this past week just knowing that it could be coming soon and I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time and memories left with him while he was still here."

He was a Navy man

During his time on Pawn Stars, Richard Harrison and his family would occasionally make reference to the Old Man's time in the U.S. Navy. As the average viewer probably doesn't read publications like Navy Times, they probably had no idea that Harrison served in a variety of roles for more than 20 years.

As Rick Harrison recalled in his 2011 book License to Pawn, the Old Man stole a car when he was 17, and a North Carolina judge gave him a choice: enlist or go to jail. Enlist he did, and after training, he shipped out for tours on the Orleck and the Twining, both destroyers. He left the service when his four-year tour was up in 1962, only to return in two years after his newborn daughter's health problems generated big medical bills. After serving on the Freemont, an attack transport ship, Harrison transferred to a Tactical Air Control Squadron facility, and then after that to the staff of the Commander, Cruiser and Destroyer Group, Pacific. During that stint, he won promotions all the way up to first class petty officer, which he followed with some time on a salvage tug and shore duty in San Diego. 

He retired from the Navy in 1979. "Out of 20 years, I was deployed about 10," Harrison told Navy Times. "The only reason I got out was that I had three teenage boys, and the wife couldn't handle them."

He left money for two of his sons... but not for the third

Richard Harrison died at the age of 77, and thanks to his shop, the success of Pawn Stars, and some other endeavors, he died a wealthy man with a lot of assets. As any responsible adult would, he set up a will naming his wife, Joanne, and three sons (Rick, Christopher, and Joseph Harrison) as his heirs and beneficiaries. His trusted business pawn and Pawn Stars partner, Rick Harrison, was named the executor

But according to legal papers published by The Blast, Harrison filed an update in 2017 that he included specifically to make sure Christopher didn't get a dime. "I would like to express my love and affection for Christopher Keith Harrison," the Old Man wrote in the document, "however, for purposes of this Will, I have intentionally and with full knowledge failed to provide for him and his issue." He gave no reason for the financial slight.

What's next for Pawn Stars?

The death of Richard "Old Man" Harrison will undoubtedly affect Pawn Stars, the TV show that depicts the day-to-day buying and selling at the Las Vegas pawn shop and tourist attraction he started back in the '80s. Just two days after Harrison's death, the History Channel aired "A Treasure Remembered," a special tribute episode of Pawn Stars consisting of Harrison's most memorable scenes, buys, and quips collected over the previous 500-odd episodes. Not long after, the show went into production for its 16th season, the first without the Old Man. World Famous Gold & Silver staff opted to soldier on — no new hires were brought in to replace Harrison, and so no new cast members joined the show. Rick Harrison, Corey Harrison, and Chumlee all returned.

There has been one major change for Pawn Stars, however. When it returned after a long hiatus in January 2019, the show's episodes doubled in length, expanding from a half-hour running time to a full hour.  

The Old Man was a proponent of tough-love parenting

The Old Man was a tough guy who intimidated World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop customers and employees alike, the latter of which included his son and grandson. And it really wasn't an act — but that gruffness as both dad and boss apparently came from a good place. "I worked with my father from the time I was a kid. He stayed in the Navy for years because of me," Rick Harrison told Fox News in 2020. "Otherwise, it would have been really difficult with my medical expenses. But despite my epilepsy, he never treated me differently."

Harrison recalled at time when he was 16 and attempted to challenge the Old Man "I tried to act all tough and told him 'f*** you' to him," Harrison said. In response, his father punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground. "He looks at me and says, 'Old enough to talk to me like a man, old enough to get your a** beat like one.'" Fight over. "He really changed my perspective on life and how words have meaning. That was one of the greatest life lessons he ever gave me."