The Rock: His journey from pro wrestler to lead actor

By CNN staff

Published May 3, 2020

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson started his career in professional wrestling. Eventually, he became the leading man in some of your favorite action films.

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Entertainment

On his 48th birthday, here’s a look at the wrestler-turned-actor’s career.


This might not be surprising by looking at those biceps, but Johnson played football at the University of Miami. After being sidelined by an injury, he entered the wrestling arena.

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Johnson was no stranger to the wrestling world. His father, Rocky "Soul Man" Johnson, was a WWE Hall of Famer and had a hand in The Rock's training. His maternal grandfather, Peter Maivia, also was a professional wrestler.


On the wrestling stage, The Rock was known for his bad-guy persona and raised eyebrow. He also had memorable catch phrases like “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?” (Though what he was actually cooking, who knows…)

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Johnson was able to use his acting chops in professional wrestling to land his first major role in 2002’s “The Scorpion King.”

Universal Pictures

Since then, the list of Johnson's action films goes on and on, from "San Andreas" to "Skyscraper." Johnson also joined the "Fast & Furious" franchise and co-starred in a spinoff, 2019's "Hobbs & Shaw."

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But action films aren't the only thing Johnson can do. He's dipped into family friendly films, such as “The Tooth Fairy,” “The Game Plan” and voicing Maui in Disney’s “Moana.”


He's ventured into TV, starring in HBO's "Ballers," a series about a former NFL player who finds a new career as a financial manager.


And recently, Johnson has even taken roles in comedic films such as the "Jumanji" reboot alongside his pal Kevin Hart.

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