Paul Teutul Sr. is an American motorcycle designer, businessman, actor and TV personality, born on 1 May 1949 in Yonkers, New York City USA.
There’s no information about Paul’s family, early education and hobbies. However, it’s known his family moved from his hometown to Pearl River, New York State, where he spent his childhood.
Paul Teutul Sr. was engaged in the Vietnam War, as he was enlisted into the US Merchant Marine.
Motorcycle Designer and Builder
Inspired by local motorcycles, Paul Teutul Sr. started designing and building choppers in his son Daniel’s steel and iron manufacturing business, Orange County Ironworks.
After working on it for various years, Paul realized he could create his own company based on his designs.
In 1999 and with help of his sons Paul Jr. and Michael, Paul Teutul Sr. founded Orange County Choppers (OCC), the main focus is manufacturing custom and theme-oriented bikes. The first chopper the shop created was named “True Blue”, though their most popular and famous creation to date is “The Fire Bike”, which was produced to honor New York firefighters.
OCC has gained international fame, and sells custom-created motorcycles to clients around the world for a considerable price. On average, an OCC’s custom bikes are worth over $30,000.
One of OCC’s most memorable creations is the “Air Force Bike”, which was commissioned by the US Air Force in 2005 and put on public display. This chopper worth $150,000 integrated many symbols and details in its design to honor the commissioner, including Jet-shaped view mirrors.
Paul’s preference for old-style choppers has led OCC to manufacture many of them, such as models “Greeny” and “The Blue Bomber”. Nowadays the business also sells lifestyle items, fitting the shop’s brand style they have created along the years.
In 2018 OCC teamed with company Spartan Events to raise funds for the Oscar Mike Foundation, which provides economic relief to injured War Veterans.
In an interview, Spartan’s CEO Joe de Sena expressed his thoughts on the campaign: ‘It’s important to give back and honor the servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much for this great nation and we’re excited for the fundraising opportunity this provides’
TV Debut – American Chopper
Paul Teutul Sr. made his debut on TV in the series “American Chopper”, premiered on the Discovery Channel in 2003, centered on his custom bike shop Orange County Chopper. The series was moved to the network TLC in 2007, and aired another six seasons in total.
“American Chopper” showcased Teutul’s businessOCC, which gained huge popularity in the US as many of Teutul’s team creations were displayed in the show.
This led various international customers to commission OCC with unique choppers, including such as PureFit Nutrition Bars, tool marketer Snap-on, the professional American Football team the New York Jets, and lawn manufacturer Dixie Chopper.
OCC also manufactured choppers for personalities such as TV host Jay Leno and automotive designer Carroll Shelby. The shop also produced a Statue of Liberty bike, commissioned by Soleia Company’s CEO Richard W. Stocks.
Another popular custom themed bike showcased in “American Chopper” was the “I, Robot” bike, which was presented at the movie’s premiere.
Paul Jr. Exit from the Show and Cancellation
Heated discussions between Teutul Sr. and his son Paul Jr. were routine in “American Chopper”. In 2009, however, their constant disagreements led to a severe argument and subsequent firing of Paul Jr.
Teutul Sr. tried to buy his son’s 20% share of the company, though his efforts lead nowhere as an agreement between the two was never reached. In 2010 Paul Jr. accused his father of fraud, and filed a lawsuit against him, asking for $100 million in damage compensation. In the middle of these legal problems, Paul Jr. founded his own bike design company named Paul Jr. Designs.
Despite “American Chopper’s” TV success, in 2010 TLC network released a statement announcing the cancellation of the series: ‘The Teutuls will always be a part of the Discovery family, and we congratulate them on a tremendously successful series run.’
Only two months after “American Chopper’s” cancellation, and in the midst of a legal lawsuit between father and son, TLC announced Teutul’s family was returning in a new series. This time however, “American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior” didn’t feature only Teutul Sr. and his business, but it would also follow the departure of Paul Jr. and the creation of his new business.
The show aired for two seasons until its cancellation in 2012.
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Despite it being the end of the series, producer Craig Piligian gave his best wishes to Teutul’s family, and praised the show for its importance for reality TV: ‘They put on display, for all to see, what really happens in a tight family business, warts and all. I’m really proud they were so open and honest’.
On 28 May 2018 a revival of “American Chopper” was premiered on Discovery Channel. It showcased once again OCC and its owner Paul Teutul Sr., and the apparently repaired relationship between him and his son Paul Jr.
In 2020, a new special series entitled “American Chopper: The Last Ride” was announced, though there’s no a definite time for its premiere yet.
Paul Teutul Sr. has appeared as an actor in various productions, such as the movie “Wild Hogs” from 2007, and the TV series “My Name Is Earl” in 2008. Paul was also in Nickelback’s short-music video “Rockstar”.
Besides facing a lawsuit from his son, Paul Sr. has faced several other legal issues.
In 2007 artist Justin Barnes accused OCC of stealing his designs, filing a lawsuit against the shop. In addition, former OCC team member and bike builder Cody Connelly filed a lawsuit against Paul Sr. in 2009, alleging breach of contract and fraud. There’s no information about the result of any of these court cases.
In 2018 Paul Sr. faced another claim against him, this time from his former associate and producer Thomas Derbyshire, who accused him of breaking a partnership contract, and for accepting commercial agreements with third parties without his consent.
In 2020 Paul Sr. was sued once again, by photographer Scott Gunnells who asked for $258,484.45 in compensation, alleging copyright infringement of his artistic work committed by Teutul and his son Michael. Reportedly, Paul Sr. lost this legal battle.
Where is Paul Teutul Sr. today? Has he died?
Paul Teutul Sr. has faced a variety of financial and legal troubles in the last years, however, he is still alive and has a good health.
Paul Teutul Sr. has been married two times in his life. His first wife was Paula in 1969, with whom he has four children – they divorced in 1995.
Paul’s second wife was Beth Ann Santos, who he married in 2007, but the couple separated in 2015. Joan Bulger is Paul’s current girlfriend.
Teutul’s children are named Paul Jr., Daniel, Michael and Christin.
In March 2018 Paul Teutul Sr. filed for bankruptcy. In the paperwork presented in court, he claimed owing $1,070,893.44 to creditors, contrasted by a net worth of $1,801,729 at the time.
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He also declared owing $151,230.98 in taxes.
Besides this, he reported his salary as a steel fabricator was $13,398.67 monthly, though he didn’t list his appearances on TV as part of his income.
Paul Sr. declared his $1.8 million mansion in New York as a fee interest. The house was ultimately sold in 2019 for an unknown price.
As a result of the various financial problems Paul Teutul Sr. has faced over the last decade, his estimated net worth as of mid-2020 is a minimum of $500,000, but could be as high as $15 million, such is the nature of his current finances.
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Paul Teutul Sr. is a man of white ethnicity, whose weight and height are unknown. His tattoo covered body gives him a tough appearance, which is accompanied by his white, bushy beard.
Paul Teutul Sr. loves animals, and often collaborates with animal rescue organizations. He owns various bullmastiff dogs.
He has various tattoos on his body, including a tattoo of his business Orange County Chopper, and a portrait of his dog Gussy.
Teutul’s fight with his son Paul Jr. in 2009 has become a viral meme on internet, and has been named “American Chopper Argument”.