Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American and Canadian actor, producer and semi-retired professional wrestler, signed with WWE. Johnson was a college football player for the University of Miami, winning a national championship on the 1991 Miami Hurricanes football team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, and was cut two months into the 1995 season. This led him to become a professional wrestler like his grandfather, Peter Maivia, and his father, Rocky Johnson (from whom he also inherited his Canadian citizenship).
Originally billed as “Rocky Maivia”, he gained mainstream fame in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF/E) from 1996 to 2004 as a major figure in the company’s Attitude Era, and was the first third-generation wrestler in the company’s history. He returned to wrestling part-time for WWE from 2011 to 2013 and continues to make sporadic non-wrestling appearances for the company. As of October 2015, he has had seventeen championship reigns in WWE, including ten as a world champion, winning the WWF/E Championship eight times and the WCW/World Championship twice. He won the Intercontinental Championship twice and the WWF Tag Team Championship five times. He is the sixth Triple Crown Champion in WWE history, and won the 2000 Royal Rumble.
The Rock is considered by many to be the biggest superstar in WWE history, as well as one of the top box office draws in wrestling history. WWE legend Hulk Hogan called The Rock “the biggest superstar in this business”, 15-time world champion John Cena described him as “the biggest superstar in the history of WWE” and “the most successful WWE superstar ever”. WCW icon Diamond Dallas Page described him as “the biggest star in our business, of all time”. Vince Russo, the head writer of WWE’s most popular era The Attitude Era, stated: “I don’t think there’s ever going to be a star in the history of this business that is bigger than The Rock”.
Johnson’s autobiography The Rock Says…, co-written with Joe Layden, was published in 2000. It debuted at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for several weeks. Johnson’s first leading film role was in The Scorpion King in 2002. For this role, he was paid US $5.5 million, a world record for an actor in his first starring role. He has since appeared in several films, including The Rundown, The Game Plan, Get Smart, The Other Guys and Faster. As an actor, he is perhaps best known for his portrayals of Luke Hobbs in The Fast and the Furious franchise. He also hosted and produced The Hero, a reality competition series.
Johnson was born in Hayward, California, the son of Ata Johnson (née Maivia) and professional wrestler Rocky Johnson. His maternal grandfather, “High Chief” Peter Maivia, was also a wrestler. His maternal grandmother, Lia Maiia, was one of wrestling’s few female professional promoters, taking over Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling after her husband’s death in 1982, until 1988. His cousin, Savelina Fanene, is also a wrestler currently working for WWE. His father is a Black vNova Scotian, and his mother is of Samoan heritage. Johnson briefly lived in the suburb of Grey Lynn in Auckland, New Zealand, with his mother’s family. He attended Richmond Road Primary School, before returning to the United States with his parents.
Johnson spent 10th grade at President William McKinley High School in Honolulu, Hawaii. As he entered 11th grade, his father’s job required his relocation to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He began playing football at Freedom High School in the East Penn Conference. He was also a member of the school’s track and field and wrestling teams.
Johnson married Dany Garcia on May 3, 1997. Their daughter, Simone Alexandra, was born August 14, 2001. On June 1, 2007, they announced they were splitting up amicably and intended to remain friends. Soon after the divorce, Johnson began dating Lauren Hashian, the daughter of Boston drummer Sib Hashian. They first met in 2006 while Johnson was filming The Game Plan, prompting rumors he left his marriage for Hashian. In September 2015, it was announced that Johnson and Hashian are expecting their first child.
Johnson co-wrote an autobiography with Joe Layden, titled The Rock Says…. It was published in 2000, debuting at No. 1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and remaining on the list for several weeks.
Johnson is a good friend of actor and former Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has two nephews who play football: Kaluka Maiava played at USC and was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 2009, and his brother, Kai Maiava, currently plays at UCLA.
Johnson attended the 2000 Republican National Convention and the 2000 Democratic National Convention, and gave a speech at the former. Both appearances were part of WWE’s non-partisan “Smackdown Your Vote” campaign, which aimed to influence young people to vote.
Because his mother, Ata Fitisemanu Maivia, is a descendant of Samoan chiefs, and in recognition of his service to the Samoan people, Malietoa Tanumafili II bestowed upon Johnson the noble title of Seiuli during his visit there in July 2004. He received a partial Samoan pe’a tattoo in 2003.
In 2006, Johnson founded the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation, a charity working with at-risk and terminally ill children. On October 2, 2007, he and his ex-wife donated $1 million to the University of Miami to support the renovation of its football facilities; it was noted as the largest donation ever given to the university’s athletics department by former students. The University of Miami renamed the Hurricanes’ locker room in Johnson’s honor.
Forbes listed Dwayne Johnson #25 in the Top 100 Most Powerful Celebrities in 2013.
According to Google metrics, The Rock is the most popular wrestler of 2014.
In 2015, Johnson became an ordained minister in order to surprise a superfan by officiating at his wedding.
Johnson was a promising football prospect, and received offers from many Division I collegiate programs. He decided upon a full scholarship from the University of Miami to play defensive tackle. In 1991, he was on the Miami Hurricanes’ national championship team. After an injury kept him sidelined, he was replaced by future National Football League (NFL) star Warren Sapp. While attending Miami, Johnson met his future wife, Dany Garcia, who graduated from the university in 1992 and later became a member of its Board of Trustees. She also founded a Miami-based wealth management firm. In 2006, the couple donated $2 million to build a living room at the University’s Newman Alumni Center.
Johnson graduated from Miami in 1995, with a Bachelor of General Studies degree in criminology and physiology. He joined the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League in 1995. He was on the practice roster as a backup linebacker but was cut two months into the season. On November 10, 2007, Johnson returned to the Miami Orange Bowl to participate in the festivities surrounding the University of Miami’s last home football game at the stadium.
- 1991: NCAA football National Championship – as a member of the Miami Hurricanes
- 2012: CinemaCon Action Star of the Year
- 2013: Kids Choice Awards – Favorite Male Butt Kicker