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Dwayne Johnson parlays wrestling stardom to box-office success

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Dwayne Johnson has already achieved fame and fortune even before he tried his hands in acting. As The Rock, Johnson was an iconic wrestler, one of the best in the world. And as Dwayne Johnson, the actor, he is highly regarded as a potent box-office star, with hit after hit under his best.

Dwayne Douglas Johnson was born on born May 2, 1972 in Hayward, California, to a family of wrestlers and wrestling enthusiasts. His father, Rocky Johnson, was the professional wrestler Rocky Johnson. His maternal grandfather, "High Chief" Peter Maivia, was also a wrestler. His maternal grandmother, Lia Maivia, was a pioneer female professional promoter who eventually took over her husband’s Polynesian Pacific Pro Wrestling after the latter’s death in 1982, until 1988.

Johnson also excelled in football. In fact, he won a scholarship by joining the University of Miami's team. He later played for the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League, although he was cut two months into the 1995 season.

He eventually tried his hands in wrestling and earned mainstream success in the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) from 1996 to 2004, making him the third-generation wrestler in his family, and the first third-generation wrestler in the history of WWF. He moved quickly towards wrestling superstardom and became the face of the WWF. He was originally billed as "Rocky Maivia", and later on as "The Rock,” where he served as the member of the Nation of Domination in 1997. In 1999, he won the WWF Championship.

With 17 championship reigns in WWE, that counted 10 world heavyweight championship titles (including WWF/E Championship eight times and the WCW/World Championship twice), 2 WWF Intercontinental Championships and 5 WWF Tag Team Championship, Johnson is hailed as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time. He is also the sixth wrestler to become the WWF/E Triple Crown Champion and emerged champion during 2000 Royal Rumble.

In 2000, Johnson's published his autobiography The Rock Says... (co-written with Joe Layden), which debuted #1 on The New York Times Best Seller list and stayed on top of the list for several weeks.

In 2001, Johnson was featured as the Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns. In 2002, Johnson landed his first starring role, when he played the eponymous role in The Scorpion King, a spin-off of the 2001 film, where he was paid $5.5 million, a handsome amount for a first-time starring role. The film was a box-office success, grossing more than $165 million worldwide.

In 2007, the Guinness World Record named him the highest-paid actor for a first leading role.

Since his initial success as an actor, Johnson has starred in several successful films.

In 2003, he was cast as the bounty hunter in search for his boss’ renegade son in The Rundown. In 2007, he was cast as a football star who had to take care of her daughter in the comedy flick The Game Plan (2007). Get Smart (2008) saw Johnson star with Steve Carrel and Anne Hathaway, where he played as a double-agent and as the film’s main antagonist.  Johnson also starred in the hit adaptation of Jules Verne’s sci-fi flick Race to Witch Mountain (2009) and Journey 2: The Mysterious Island. In The Other Guys (2010), Johnson was cast as a cocky policeman, while in Faster, Fast Five (2011), Johnson was praised by critics for his featured role as a security agent in the fifth installment of the Vin Diesel-Paul Walker starrer. In 2013, Johnson joined an ensemble cast in G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the sequel to the 2009 film. 


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