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The Rock Turns 50

Actor, singer, and ex WWF fighter, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson will hit a major milestone this week when he turns 50. Johnson’s films have grossed over US $10.5 billion worldwide, establishing him as one of the world’s highest-grossing and highest-paid actors. And while there were many naysayers, skeptical that he’d successfully transition from his former day job as a wrestler to a movie star, Johnson has proven them wrong. In spades.

With fearlessness, tenacity, and self-confidence, Johnson persevered to achieve his goals, against the odds.

“One of the critical decisions was deciding that the rules of Hollywood were not going to apply [to me] and I was not going to worry about what my name was, I was not going to worry about my size, I wasn’t going to worry about where I came from, nor was I going to worry about being a pro wrestler,” he explains, speaking from Cabo San Lucas, on the set of Jumanji: The Next Level, in 2019.


“I’m proud to break the mold and trailblaze in a few paths as a half-Samoan, half-Black professional wrestler who could raise an eyebrow and be loud and bombastic on a crazy wrestling show.” Johnson was determined to be taken seriously. “I’d express my goals but there was no blueprint for someone like me.”

It’s hard to believe his first film was over twenty years ago. So popular was his stint as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns, a film that grossed $435 million, that a spin-off was created immediately and the following year, in 2002, he played the eponymous character, The Scorpion King. While Johnson was a relative unknown, the film took in over $180 million on a $60 million budget. Although he made the shift from sports star to movie star look deceptively effortless, he admits, “For some time I struggled trying to figure out my own place – especially when I transitioned into Hollywood, it was daunting. But I came in with some nice pomp and circumstance with The Scorpion King, and I was able to establish a name through a money franchise.” Since then, he’s starred in such movies as The Rundown (2003), Get Smart (2008), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Hercules (2014), and The Fast and the Furious franchise, spin-off Hobs & Shaw, and the Jumanji franchise. While becoming an established movie star, he also starred in the HBO series Ballers, which ran for five seasons. 



Johnson was born in California. His mother, Ata Maivia, is the daughter of professional wrestler Peter Maivia, and his father, Wayde Douglas Bowles, was a professional wrestler who went by the name Rocky Johnson. He moved around a lot during his childhood, including for a stint at Grey Lynn in New Zealand with his mother’s family, where he attended Richmond Road Primary School. He then moved back to the U.S., and at age 18 he was awarded a full football scholarship to the University of Miami. In 1996, he decided to join the family business and become a wrestler, eventually finding a persona for himself as The Rock.

Offscreen, Johnson was married to producer and bodybuilder, Dany Garcia, from 1997 to 2007. Their daughter Simone, 20, (who signed a contract with WWE making her a 4th-generation WWE wrestler) is a big sister to Jasmine, 6, and Tiana, 4, his daughters from his second marriage to Lauren Hashian, who he met in 2006 while filming The Game Plan, and married in 2019.


Johnson wears many hats in his professional life, including the title of People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, in 2016. With a joke always at the ready, he offers, “I am and will forever be Sexiest Man Alive. That’s in perpetuity, right? It’s for life.”

But it’s his role as a father of three daughters that he takes the most seriously. “I love being a father, I really do.”

He seems comfortable living in an estrogen-laden household. “Well, I’ve always been surrounded by women, and actually, I’m the only piece of testosterone in the house other than my dog.” He laughs. “So, it’s just me and my dog!”