In the Beginning
On May 2, 1972, Dwayne Johnson was born in Hayward, California to Ata Johnson. He came from a family of wrestlers, his father being Rocky Johnson, and his maternal grandfather, Peter Maivia known as professional wrestler ‘High Chief’. In addition to that, his maternal grandmother was one of the few female professional promoters for the sport (Liv Maivia). Though he was born in California, he spent some of his early life in Auckland, New Zealand, attending Richmond Road Primary School before making a return to the United States with his parents. The 10th grade was spent at President William McKinley High School in Honolulu, but the 11th was spent at Freedom High School in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania due to a change in his father’s job that made relocation a necessity. He played football at Freedom High school and was also involved in their track and field and wrestling teams. Due to his performance on the high school football team, Dwayne received several offers from Division I collegiate programs but decided to pursue a full scholarship to the University of Miami. His position was defensive tackle, and in 1991, he played for the Miami Hurricanes. Unfortunately, an injury took him out of the game, and he would see his position overtaken by Warren Snap, a future NFL star. He still attended Miami, and there he met his future wife, Dany Garcia, who would become a member of the Board of Trustees. Dwayne Johnson would graduate from Miami in 1995, earning a Bachelor of General Studies degree in the fields of both criminology and physiology. He did make an attempt to return to football, joining the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in 1995. Though he was on the practice roster, he was cut just two months into the season.
Dwayne Johnson’s father, grandfather, and many of his uncles were in the professional wrestling scene, and at some point, Johnson himself determined that he too should become a wrestler. His father was not in favor of it at the start but eventually agreed to train him. Then, Pat Patterson was able to get Johnson a few tryout matches with the World Wrestling Federation in 1996, where under his real name he defeated the Brooklyn Brawler. The WWF played heavily into Johnson’s lineage, touting him a WWF’s first third-generation wrestler, and giving him the name Rocky Maivia. Eventually, this name was rejected and he would finally become The Rock until such time as he left the WWE in 2004, taking his namesake with him per a dual ownership contract between himself and the WWE. The Rock made a return to WWE in 2011, hosting an episode of Raw, which saw him return to the arena for the first time in nearly seven years. He has continued to make part-time appearances over the years, once even sustaining a legitimate injury during a Wrestlemania match. At this time, he is working on his film career. Because of Dwayne Johnson’s lucrative wrestling career, it was no surprise that he was able to move into mainstream pop culture. He started by appearing in Wyclef Jean’s single and music video ‘It Doesn’t Matter' and even hosted Saturday Night live in 2000. This Saturday Night Live episode garnered enough success that it spawned offers from multiple Hollywood studios. As a result, Johnson would take guest roles on shows such as Star Trek: Voyager and That 70’s Show. One of Johnson’s most well-known movie appearances was his tenure in The Scorpion King series which has spawned two sequels so far. The Rock has appeared virtually everywhere, including the Disney channel show, Cory in the House. He has won several awards, including the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects, and was nominated Favorite Movie Actor at the 2008 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice wards, though he lost to Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. Perhaps the most famous of The Rock’s appearances were those of the Fast and Furious film series, as The Rock appeared in Fast Five as Luke Hobbs, a Diplomatic Security Service agent. He was tasked with hunting down the protagonists, the idea coming from Vin Diesel after he learned that fans wanted to see him and Johnson appear in a film together. On December 16, 2013, Forbes gave Johnson the title of top-grossing actor of 2013. In addition to that, Forbes gave The Rock credit for the massive success of Fast 6 which grossed nearly one billion dollars worldwide.
Most Known For
The Rock is obviously known mostly for his wrestling career, but a close second would be his work in the extremely popular Fast and Furious movies. It is now widely accepted that he is responsible for breathing new life into an aging franchise.