Hollywood Spotlight: Dwayne Johnson

507 views December 28, 2017 11:00 AM

Image above: SheKnows

Written by: Karen Cryer

This week our Hollywood Spotlight is on Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson! As an actor, producer, and professional wrestler, Johnson is a much-loved household name. With his charisma, charm, and captivating smile, Johnson is in high demand! He's one of the stars of the "Fast and the Furious" movie franchise,  typically averaging three movies per year, and is in "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle", which hit cinemas last week!

Born on May 2, 1972, in Hayward, California, Dwayne Douglas Johnson is the son of Ata and Wayde Johnson. He came from a family of wrestlers - his grandfather ('High Chief') and father (Rocky') were professional wrestlers and his grandmother was a promoter in the industry. So, it seems Johnson was destined to follow in their footsteps! However, although he grew up watching his father perform, and wrestled on a regular basis himself from an early age, he had other ideas.

image: TwistedSifter.com

Johnson grew up poor with average grades and his family moved around a lot because of his father's job. He described himself as a teenage delinquent, regularly getting into trouble and by the time he was 17, he had been arrested 7 times. After his family moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, he started attending Freedom High School. It was there that he discovered football, his first love. He went on to receive a full scholarship to attend the University of Miami, where he was the next football talent to look out for - it seemed he had found his calling!  Sadly, it wasn't meant to be; he suffered a string of injuries which resulting in him having to give up his dream. As a result, Johnson was devastated, even stating that he suffered from depression during that time. 

However, perhaps it was fate because this tragic situation led him to focus all of his attention on the family business - wrestling. He made his WWF wrestling debut under the name 'Rocky Maivia' in 1996, later shortening it to 'The Rock'. His wrestling career spanned over a decade, still making guest-appearances in the ring today. Memorable moments from his wrestling glory days include his long, notorious feud with 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin and when he became 'The People's Champ' in 1998, a nickname he gave himself in honour of Mohammed Ali. He won the WWE heavyweight title six times and is still considered to be one of the greatest wrestlers of all time.

image: Viral Thread

The Rock's charisma in the wrestling ring helped him on-screen. During his wrestling career, he appeared in various TV shows, including "That '70s Show" and "Star Trek: Voyager".  However, it wasn't until his role in 2001's "The Mummy Returns" that producers and directors alike began to see his true movie potential. He reprised his role as the half-scorpion, half-man monster the following year, in "The Scorpion King".

Johnson was always hilarious when performing as 'The Rock' and his appearance on "Saturday Night Live" in 2000 gave us a taste of what was to come. It was in 2003's "The Rundown" that Johnson showed the world his comedic ability on the big screen, alongside Sean William Scott. Since then, he has consistently shown that he is the perfect choice for a comedic lead role. His greatest hits include "Be Cool", as himself, in 2005; as a boxer with amnesia in "Southland Tales" in 2006; as Agent 23 in the comedy spy movie "Get Smart" in 2008; as part of a trio of hapless kidnapping bodybuilders in "Pain & Gain" in 2013; and as an awkward high school nerd turned international spy in "Central Intelligence" last year.   

Of course, it's no surprise given his huge, toned physique that Johnson has also been cast as the action hero who saves the day - most notably, in "Walking Tall", "G.I. Joe: Retaliation", "Empire State", "Hercules", and "San Andreas".  His role as DSS agent Luke Hobbs in "Fast Five" came after Vin Diesel heard that fans wanted to see him and Johnson on screen together in the popular franchise. It turned out to be a great decision, as "Fast Five" was Johnson's highest-grossing movie to date, as well as the most successful "Fast & Furious" film at that time. He reprised his role as Luke Hobbs in "Fast & Furious 6", "Furious 7" and earlier this year in "Fate of the Furious".

image: Digital Spy

Last year, Johnson was the voice of Maui in the popular animated Disney movie "Moana" and "The Fate of the Furious". This year, he was the star of "Baywatch" and the recently released "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle". He also starred in the TV series "Ballers" this year, which has been running since 2015. Next year, he is set to star in "Fighting with My Family", a story about a struggling small-time wrestler, followed by a thriller titled "Skyscraper" and the action sci-fi "Rampage".

Johnson owns the production company, Seven Bucks Productions, which he co-founded with his now ex-wife, Dany Garcia, back in 2012. In addition to his already-mentioned talents, he has worked with numerous charities, including The Red Cross and IfOnly. He also regularly visits sick children in hospitals around the United States. In 2006, he set up the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation, which helps terminally ill and at-risk children, proving that he is genuinely an all-around good guy.

Johnson met his ex-wife, Dany Garcia while attending the University of Miami. The couple married 7 years later and had a daughter, Simone Alexandra, who is now 16. From the beginning and throughout their relationship, Dany helped manage Johnson's career and, as previously mentioned, co-founded Seven Bucks Productions with him; they still work together today. The couple divorced in 2007, after 10 years of marriage, in 2007, splitting amicably. After his divorce began a relationship with the talented singer-songwriter, Lauren Hashian, with whom he has a two-year-old daughter named Jasmine.

image: In Touch Weekly

Johnson is known for his passion for working out, a discipline which started at a very early age when he started wrestling. Even on his days off, he can be found at the gym, usually with his trainer, Dave Rienzi. Johnson also has an incredibly large presence on social media - he has 92.6 million followers on Instagram - and uses the platform to inspire others to live a healthy lifestyle.
His other interests include fishing, listening to music, and watching movies.

He won the 2016 Shorty Award for Best Actor and the 2016 People's Choice Award for Favourite Premium Cable TV Actor, and this year he bagged the Teen Choice Award for Favourite Actor: Fantasy, the Kid's Choice Award for Favourite BFFs,  the People's Choice Award for Favourite Premium Series Actor and the NAACP Image Award for Entertainer of the Year.

Here are some more fun facts about Dwayne Johnson:
  • His production company earned its name because he had seven dollars in his pocket when he first moved to LA.
  • Last year, he teamed up with sportswear giant Under Armour.
  • His favourite wrestler is Ric Flair.
  • He has a fear of spiders.
  • He graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor's Degree in General Studies in Criminology and Physiology. 
  • Forbes named him the Highest Paid Actor in 2016, raking in 64.5 million dollars a year.
  • He loves suits and has a wide collection in a variety of colours and fabrics.
  • His chest and arm tattoos represent his Polynesian heritage.
  • He is known as one of the hardest working actors in Hollywood.
  • He owns several homes, including one in Florida, a farm in Virginia, and a pad in Los Angeles.
  • Harrison Ford was his favourite actor when he was a child.
  • In 2015, he set a Guinness World Record for taking the most amount of selfies in 3 minutes (105 to be exact), taking selfies at the premiere of "San Andreas" with his fans.
  • His star sign is Taurus.
  • He officially goes by Dwayne Johnson now, rather than 'The Rock'.

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