Richard Harrison, better known as “The Old Man” from the reality series Pawn Stars, has died. The announcement was made on his Facebook, with a post that read: “It is with heavy hearts that we acknowledge the passing of Richard Benjamin Harrison this morning… He was surrounded by loving family this past weekend and went peacefully.” He was 77.
Harrison, who appeared on seasons of Pawn Stars with his son Rick Harrison, leaves behind a large clan that includes his grown kids, grandchildren and his longtime wife, JoAnne Rhue Harrison. Get to know more Harrison’s family below:
1. His Oldest Son Rick Co-Founded Gold & Silver Pawn Shop In 1989
Rick Harrison co-founded the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop with his parents in 1989. The shop grew in popularity, reportedly bringing in a whopping $700,000 in interest income by the early 2000s, which led to its appearance on a 2003 episode of Insomniac with Dave Attell. Rick then came up with the idea of basing an entire reality series around his family’s shop, and spent five years pitching it to different networks.
It was eventually picked up by the History Channel in 2009. “I was hoping to get a season or two to help our business”, he told CBS News. “I never thought we’d be in 152 countries and 38 languages… Everybody absolutely loves it. I speak with other pawn brokers all the time.” In 2011, Harrison published License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver. The book reached #22 on The New York Times Best Seller. He currently co-owns the shop with his son Corey.
Rick posted a tribute to his father on Instagram after his death, writing: “Today I lost a friend, a father, a teacher and so much more. The Old Man lost his long battle with Parkinson’s this morning. Love you Dad. See you on the other side.”
2. His Daughter Sherry Died When Was Only 6
Richard’s only daughter, Sherry Joanne Harrison, was born in 1960. She was born with Down Syndrome, so Richard had re-enlisted into the Navy, in order to get benefits for her medical expenses. According to Pawn Stars Wikia, however, Sherry died at age six, after various complications. She was laid to rest at Forest Hill Memorial Park in North Carolina.
Google lists The Bachelor host Chris Harrison as Richard’s third son, but this appears to be incorrect. His actual son, also named Chris, reportedly lives in Las Vegas, Nevada.
3. His Son Joseph Is a Member of the Vagos Biker Gang
Richard’s son Joseph Kent Harrison has no ties to the entertainment industry. According to The National Inquirer, he is a member of the notorious biker gang known as Vagos, and has been charged with several felony crimes over the years. The Inquirer claims that Joseph participated in a 1997 home invasion with the Vagos that resulted in an innocent man being beaten.
Harrison was reportedly slapped with extortion charges in 1999, and was subsequently sentenced to between four and 10 years in prison. The Inquirer states that was sentence was drastically cut down for good behavior, and that he released after serving just two years.
In 2014, TMZ claims that Richard was unwittingly lured into helping Joseph and the Vagos dodge criminal charges. The report states that The Old Man hosted a Valentine’s Day party, and the various raffles offered during the party allowed the Vagos to take the proceeds and put them into slush funds to pay their lawyers.
Rick told TMZ that the gang took advantage of The Old Man, who had no idea that they were stealing funds.“Rick hit the roof,” said an inside source. “He was fit to be [angry] that Joseph would use their 73-year-old dad to be an unwitting accomplice in his plan to raise money for his gang. Joseph is the black sheep of the family.”
4. His Wife Is the Head Director of Gold & Silver Pawn Shop
Prior to their careers on Pawn Stars, Richard and JoAnne Rhue worked in real estate. The couple ran their own business during the 1970s, but increasing interest rates led to the collapse of the business in 1981. The couple relocated to Las Vegas, where they opened the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop with their oldest son Rick.
JoAnne does not appear on Pawn Stars, as she prefers to keep her personal life separate from her professional life. The only social media account she maintains is a Facebook page, which includes a photo of her and Richard from 2012. That said, JoAnne continues a crucial part in the show’s business. She is a part owner and head director of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, according to ODSSF.
5. He Has 6 Grandchildren Between His 3 Sons
Richard has five grandchildren between his three sons. Adam Harrison used to work at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, but said that he had little interest in appearing on his family’s reality series. When asked whether Adam will appear at all in 2012, his brother Corey told The Huffington Post: “Most likely not. He’s a plumber now.” Siblings Jake Harrison and Sarina Harrison keeps a similarly low profile.
Corey, also known as “Big Hoss”, is the the most famous member of the family outside of his father Rick and his grandfather Richard. He’s appeared in every season of Pawn Stars, and episode plots often feature him arguing with his family over the knowledge of the shop’s inventory and his purchases of expensive items.
Corey has had various run-ins with the law over the years. In 2011, TMZ claimed that he was arrested on suspicion of battery with serious bodily injury and resisting arrest, which are both misdemeanors.
According to ODSSF, Richard has two other grandchildren by his son Chris: Jennifer Lambert Harrison and Tabitha Cottingham. The former says that she is a personal assistant for Gold & Silver Pawn Shop on her Facebook page.