Who Is Dwayne Johnson?
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was born into a professional wrestling family in 1972. An injury ended his college football career, so he entered the ring with the World Wrestling Federation. As “The Rock,” he famously feuded with wrestler Steve Austin and won the WWF/WWE Heavyweight title numerous times. Johnson then parlayed his wrestling fame into a film career, appearing in projects like 2001’s The Mummy Returns and 2010’s Tooth Fairy. Later projects include the HBO series Ballers and leading roles in The Fast and the Furious and Jumanji franchises.
Early Life and Career
Professional wrestler and actor Dwayne “The Rock” Douglas Johnson was born on May 2, 1972, in Hayward, California. The grandson of professional wrestler Peter “High Chief” Fanene Maivia and son of wrestler Rocky Johnson, the young Johnson grew up watching his father perform in the ring. With no plans to follow in his footsteps, Johnson played college football at the University of Miami, showing promise with his size and athleticism until being slowed by injuries.
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Becoming ‘The Rock’
With few prospects in professional football, Johnson turned to wrestle, debuting in the WWF against the Brooklyn Brawler in Texas. After a couple more matches, including a tag team win with Bart Sawyer and the WWF signed him under the name Flex Kavana. A year later, he joined The Nation of Domination, eventually taking over its leadership and calling himself The Rock.
He later joined another band of elite wrestlers known as The Corporation and began a notorious feud with Steve Austin. Also known as “The People’s Champ” The Rock went on to win a combined 17 WWF/WWE titles over his acclaimed career.
Movies and TV
Outside the wrestling ring, The Rock launched a successful acting career dropping the stage name and simply going by Dwayne Johnson. He first made a big splash as the Scorpion King, a supernatural bad guy, in 2001’s The Mummy Returns. Johnson returned to this role the following year for The Scorpion King. Trying his hand at comedy, he appeared in 2005’s Be Cool with John Travolta and Uma Thurman and 2007’s The Game Plan.
‘Driver,’ ‘Fast & Furious’ Franchise
Johnson’s acting career to continued to thrive through his appearances in such films as Driver (2010) and Fast & Furious 6 (2013). In 2014, he starred as the titular strong man in Hercules. Johnson also returned to wrestling from time to time, including a 2014 appearance with Hulk Hogan and Stone Cold Steve Austin at WrestleMania 30.
In 2015, Johnson dominated the big screen with two big action films. He appeared in Furious Seven and starred in San Andreas. Johnson also debuted his first dramatic comedy series that same year, playing Spencer Strasmore, a retired pro footballer turned financial planner, on Ballers.
‘Central Intelligence,’ ‘Moana,’ ‘Baywatch,’ ‘Jumanji’
In 2016, after teaming up with Kevin Hart for the action-comedy Central Intelligence, Johnson voiced the demigod Maui for the Disney animated hit Moana. He was a busy man in 2017, taking on starring roles in The Fate of the Furious, a big-screen adaptation of the 1990s lifeguard series Baywatch and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.
‘Skyscraper,’ ‘Rampage,’ ‘Hobbs & Shaw’
The good vibes continued into 2018, with Jumanji racking up the ticket sales en route to becoming the actor’s highest-grossing film to date. He also managed to stand out during the blitz of advertising accompanying the Super Bowl in February, debuting a trailer for the movie Skyscraper, in which he partakes in death-defying stunts with a prosthetic leg.
That same day, Johnson announced he would be hosting a 10-episode unscripted competition show, The Titan Games, to “create a platform that gave everyday people the opportunity to change their lives and do something extraordinary.”
Next up for the action star was Rampage, based on the popular 1980s arcade game, which hit theaters a few months before the July release of Skyscraper.
Johnson returned to his wrestling roots by appearing as himself in Fighting with My Family (2019), based on the true story of female wrestling champion Saraya “Paige” Bevis. Later that year, he was back in action mode with the Fast & Furious spinoff Hobbs & Shaw, alongside Jason Statham.
Off the Screen
Johnson has also opened up about some of his early-life struggles, including his family’s eviction from their Hawaii home when he was just 14. He told the UK publication The Express that his mother tried to commit suicide by walking into traffic the following year, an incident that left him battling depression.
In August 2020, Johnson announced that he teamed up with his wife and a sports management company to buy the XFL which went bankrupt earlier in the year, for $15 million. “The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things—my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson said in a statement. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”
In August 2019, Johnson tied the knot with his longtime girlfriend, singer/music producer Lauren Hashian. The two are parents to daughters Jasmine Lia (b. December 2015) and Tiana Gia (b. April 2018).
Johnson also has a daughter, Simone Alexandra, from his first marriage. He and his high school sweetheart, Dany Garcia, wed in 1997 and split up a decade later, though she continues to serve as his manager.
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