Danielle Colby is one of the main stars of the History Channel reality TV series “American Pickers”. Her deep knowledge of history and antique items, combined with her personality and good looks, quickly made her a fan favorite, however, her personal life has mostly been kept out of the show. With rumors of Danielle potentially leaving the series spreading around the Internet, many of her fans have been looking to find out just what’s going on behind the scenes.
Danielle Colby Wiki Bio
Danielle Colby was born in Davenport, Iowa USA, on 3 December 1975. She was raised in a ‘strict but loving’ household, with both of her parents being Jehovah’s Witnesses. Growing up, Danielle yearned for freedom to express herself, which led her to grow an interest in burlesque performance during her teenage years.
After matriculating high school in 1993, she moved to Chicago, Illinois, where she found work as a travelling make-up artist for Estee Lauder and Lancome. During her time there, she attended a burlesque performance by the comedienne Margaret Cho and dancer Helene Walker – aka Satan’s Angel. The performance left a very big impression on Danielle, and she became determined to start doing burlesque herself. Due to family-related obligations, she moved back to rural Iowa a few years later, where she created a professional troupe called Burlesque Le Moustache, which toured across Illinois and Iowa. To this day, Danielle is still active in the scene, performing under the alias Dannie Diesel.
Danielle became one of the main stars of “American Pickers” in 2010, as a Shop Manager of Antique Archeology. She was close friends with Mike Wolfe for more than ten years prior to the show’s development, and in fact it was Mike who recommended Danielle to History Channel producers, even though she didn’t have prior experience in running an antique shop. As Mike revealed in one of his video interviews, producers were looking for someone who would draw in the audience, and didn’t look like a typical antique shop employee. ‘I asked her to do it, and she’s like, ‘Are you guys nuts?!?’ And it worked out really well.’ he added.
Soon after first appearing on the show, Danielle capitalized on her newfound success, and opened a retro clothing store called 4 Miles 2 Memphis. Around that time, her father was diagnosed with leukemia, and she spent all of the company’s profits on paying-off his medical bills. The store initially operated online, before Danielle and her team set up a brick-and-mortar store in Chicago. Unfortunately, it closed within only one year, but Danielle has since had more luck in her other business endeavors.
Another Stripping History is coming on May 25th at @corsairartisan in the Marathon Building right next to Antique Archaeology Nashville! Join me and @Freyanator for an evening reviving of one of America’s forgotten histories. Tickets available at https://t.co/fpFWiBkI6j pic.twitter.com/fNXMBpHE6b
— Danielle Colby (@daniellecolby) April 30, 2019
In 2020, she combined her passion for burlesque and history, by launching her newest project, called Stripping History, through which Danielle works on collecting and restoring antique burlesque costumes worn by some of the most renowned performers of the past century. She has also launched a dedicated website, onto which she uploads stories of burlesque history, and adult entertainment in general.
Danielle is a very charitable person, involved with several non-profit organizations, including Batey Girls, Barks of Hope and La Casa De Todos.
As for her love life, Danielle has been married two times. According to online records, she divorced her first husband, Chad Cushman, in April 2012, and the two shared custody of their son and daughter. It’s speculated that Danielle left Chad for her business’ graphic designer, Alexandre De Meyer, whom she married a year later. Their marriage lasted for three years, before the couple agreed to quietly separate in 2015 – news of their divorce only broke in 2020, after Danielle announced her engagement to then-boyfriend, Jeremy Scheuch.
In September 2021, Danielle became a subject of online controversy involving her daughter, Memphis. Namely, the “American Pickers” star, took to Instagram to promote her 21-year-old daughter’s TikTok video. While seemingly innocent, the video contained a link to Memphis’ Only Fans page, which was seen as widely inappropriate by her followers. However, given the fact that Danielle is a burlesque performer herself, it’s safe to assume that such a taboo doesn’t exist in her household.
Danielle was involved in another controversy after it was revealed that she has had issues with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), due to tax evasion. Her first notice came in 2013, as she had ‘forgotten’ to pay $6,000 in taxes for her show 4 Miles 2 Memphis. Over the next couple of years, she received several more notices for the same business, but it remains unclear whether Danielle is still in debt to the IRS.
Danielle currently spends her days in Puerto Rico, with her fiancée Jeremy. As of July 2022, her net worth has been estimated at more than $1.5 million.
“American Pickers” cast
Despite her other ventures being quite successful, Danielle is still primarily known for her work in “American Pickers”. Created by Mike Wolfe, the series started airing on History Channel in January 2010, and follows antique and collectible picker Mike and his colleague Frank Fritz (for the first 22 seasons), as they travel across the US scouting for items to buy and resell. Their business is managed by Danielle, who runs Antique Archaeology from Le Claire, Iowa and Nashville, Tennessee. While Mike and Wolf usually travel to specific locations, where they know they will be able to find valuable items, they often ‘freestyle’, ie, stop at unfamiliar places that look like they might hold quality items. Over the course of more than 300 episodes, Mike and Frank have explored sheds, barns, outbuildings and people’s homes in search for antiques.
As for the hosts’ backgrounds, born in 1964, Mike has been interested in antique collecting since a very early age. He started picking when he was only four years old, and has a particular interest in antique cars, motorcycles and bicycles. After matriculating from high school, he committed to picking full-time, and has built a reputation as one of the country’s foremost foragers. He has spent the better part of the past four decades on the road, often joined by Frank.
Born in 1963 in Davenport, Iowa, Frank Fritz has also been an avid collector since his early years. As a child, he used to collect beer cans, rocks and postage stamps. Despite his passion for collectibles, unlike Mike, antique picking wasn’t his first profession. Prior to working with Mike, Frank was a fire inspector in Des Moines and Cedar Falls, Iowa, but during that time, he started collecting various fire department memorabilia, although it wasn’t until he sold an item he bought for $15 for a $450 profit, that he committed to picking as a form of income. In the series, we’ve seen that Frank has a fondness for antique toys, and peanut-related items.
What happened to Frank Fritz?
Frank’s departure from the series in 2020 caused quite a stir online. While the show initially didn’t address it, Frank later said that the main reason he quit the show was his back surgery and necessary recovery. However, as the story gained more traction online, it became apparent that that’s not exactly what happened; as revealed by Danielle, he had struggled with alcohol abuse for a long time, recalling that he had ‘caused a lot of pain for himself’ through the years. His former co-star, Mike Wolf also opened up about the situation, revealing that he was actually fired from the show.
In an interview he gave for “The Sun” newspaper, Frank talked about his struggles post-show, and an old relationship which turned his life upside down. Namely, he was supposed to marry his long-term girlfriend, before finding out that she’d been cheating on him for more than two years. ‘I bought a house and a big expensive ring, and then I find out my fiancée had been dating somebody else for two and a half years. She’s the cheater, that’s why I got a tattoo saying ‘Once a cheater always a cheater.’ I got the tattoo two years ago just to remind myself not to make the same mistake again. She cost me six figures.’, he said.
His personal problems apparently escalated further due to a strained relationship with Mike Wolfe. According to Frank, he and Mike were friends for more than 40 years, but after season 20 wrapped up filming, Frank didn’t hear a word from Mike for months. ‘He knew what was going on, but he didn’t call me up and ask how I was doing’, Frank said.
Since then, Frank has finished the rehabilitation process, and has been working on developing his own TV show.
Will Danielle return to “American Pickers”?
After Frank’s departure from the show, rumors started circulating the Internet that Danielle might leave too. This was perpetuated by Danielle, who has evidently been distancing her brand from the series, by removing mentions of “American Pickers” from her Instagram and Facebook pages. On the other hand, on Twitter, she’s been retweeting content about the show, while the official webpage dedicated to “American Pickers” still holds her bio.
Despite the rumors, Danielle did in fact star on the newest season of the series, which aired in early 2022. Her social media activity further reveals that she’s still on good terms with Mike, meaning that there is a high probability we will continue seeing her in the show, if not as one of the co-pickers. As of July 2022, there’s no indication that Danielle is set to leave the cast of “American Pickers” in the foreseeable future.
Biggest finds on “American Pickers”
While we’re waiting for another season, now completely without Frank, it’s time to remember some of the biggest finds from the series.
In season 13, Mike and Frank made one of their biggest finds ever on the show, acquiring original Yoda prototypes used for the first film of the “Star Wars” franchise. Two Yoda prototypes belonged to a movie memorabilia collector – their original creator, Mario Chiodo, vouched for their authenticity. In the end, the guys paid a little over $6,000 for the prototypes, which is a great deal for a piece of history of one of the biggest film franchises of all time.
More recently, in season 20, Mike and Frank were approached by members of the popular rock band Aerosmith, who were looking for the original van they used for their first tour in the early 1970s. Sure enough, the guys came through, locating the original 1964 International Harvester Metro, now belonging to a man living in Chesterfield, Massachusetts. In the end, the team bought the van for $25,000, and did a complete restoration before it was presented to Aerosmith.
Despite the celebrity cameos and flashy finds, the episode which a lot of fans cite as perhaps the most memorable is the second episode of season nine, which featured the acquisition of the infamous ‘Wolf Boy’. The unsettling figurine was created by the American artist Homer Tate, who was known for creating unusual ‘artefacts’, which were often used as roadside attractions, meant to fool and confuse the public. Wolf Boy is one of Tate’s most infamous creations – a small statue resembling the remains of a hairy child was one of the biggest attractions of Tate’s roadside shows, being presented as one of 26 mummies discovered in a cave in Peru. While Tate’s backstory of the figurine is confirmed to be fake, Wolf Boy certainly takes the cake for being the most bizarre find in “American Pickers” history.
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Secrets of the show
While Mike, Frank and Danielle made “American Pickers” what it is today, Frank’s recent departure opened up a discussion about what’s been going on behind the scenes of one of History Channel’s most successful series.
As it turns out, not everything is as we see it on the TV screen. Mike and Frank aren’t the only ones negotiating the items’ prices, as they’re frequently aided by the series’ producers. According to sources working behind the scenes, the producers negotiate and set the final price before Mike and Frank even come into the picture. In fact, it’s been noted that the duo are actually poor negotiators, although their charm makes their interactions seem natural on TV.
Furthermore, it’s been rumored that some items have actually been planted by the production. This is a grave accusation against the show, but as most reality TV series rely on fabricated narratives to some extent – this idea doesn’t seem too far-fetched. On the other hand, this rumor hasn’t been confirmed by a reliable source, therefore it’s entirely possible that it’s not true.
The stars’ pay has also been discussed by fans online. It appears that the cast are paid better than the show makes it seem, earning up to $500,000 per episode. According to the website celebritynetworth.com, the net worth of Mike and Frank has been estimated at roughly $7 and $6 million, respectively.