One of the men responsible for the popular wave of pawn-related television has moved on to that big swap meet in the sky. Richard Benjamin Harrison Jr., commonly known as "Old Man" to fans of the History series Pawn Stars, has passed away. He was 77 years old.
The news of Richard Harrison's death was relayed by the staff of World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn, which includes his son and host of Pawn Stars, Rick Harrison. The post stated the shop founder went peacefully on Monday morning. Details regarding the circumstances of Harrison's death are unknown, although the Old Man's health has been called into question in recent years, with his presence on the Pawn Stars series having been drastically reduced over time. Harrison's death was apparently not believed to be entirely unexpected, as the Facebook post from Gold & Silver said Harrison had been surrounded by his family all weekend. The post can be seen below.
Richard Benjamin Harrison Jr. opened his first pawn shop in Las Vegas, Nevada in April of 1981, with the help of his son Rick Harrison. The two men's business continued to grow, and eight years later moved into the building that has been the home for the 24-hour World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop ever since. The Harrisons' business would only become more successful with the premiere of Pawn Stars in 2009, in which the Old Man (who landed that nickname at age 38) often ridiculed his son, grandson Chris "Big Hoss" Harrison, and his grandson's childhood friend Austin "Chumlee" Russell for various reasons.
Harrison's back-and-forth jabs at his workers, coupled with the general allure of Pawn Stars' episodic treasures, helped create a television success that for a time was one of the biggest reality shows on television. A representative from History offered comment on the Old Man's legacy (via TMZ) and expressed he would be missed by the network:
We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend Richard 'The Old Man' Harrison, a beloved member of the History and Pawn Stars family. He will be greatly missed for his wisdom and candor.
Prior to his pawn shop ventures, Richard Harrison was a veteran of the Navy, enlisting in his late teens following a judge's ultimatum that Harrison either do that or go to prison for stealing a car. Harrison served until the mid-1970s, later going to work for his wife Joanne in her real-estate business in California. That business collapsed in 1981, thus prompting the family to move out to Las Vegas with only $5,000 in Harrison's savings account. The rest, as they say, is history.
We here at CinemaBlend offer our condolences to the family of the Richard Benjamin Harrison Jr., as well as the rest of the Pawn Stars family, during this difficult time.