It has been quite a year for Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Between starring in blockbusters such as Hercules and Furious 7, the ‘smackdown’ star also found time for a very popular Saturday Night Live sketch. With his San Andreas coming up for release this month, we bring you 10 lesser-known facts about the birthday boy who turned 43 today (May 2).
1 Before Dwayne took up wrestling, he played college football at the University of Miami. He went on to sign a three-year deal with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League. However, that didn’t go far and he finally returned home.
2 Home meant a family with wrestling tradition. His father Rocky Johnson and grandfather Peter Maivia also wrestled. His cousins include wrestlers Yokozuna (Rodney), Rikishi (Solofa), Manu (Afa Jr) and Umaga (Eddie). Yokozuna and Umaga are dead.
3 The Rock has said when he started his career in 1995, he had $7 to his name. He turned to wrestling to make his name and money.
4 His family hit a rough patch when he was a teenager and money was in short supply.
5 WWE gave him fame and superstardom but the man is an author too. He went on to co-write his first book, an autobiography called The Rock Says in 2000, which was a big hit.
6 Believe it or not, director Tim Burton wanted him to play Willy Wonka’s role in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The role was played by Johnny Depp in the film.
7 The Rock made his film debut as The Scorpion King in The Mummy Returns.
8 The film’s off-shoot was a full fledged film, The Scorpion King, which saw The Rock as its lead. He got a recording-breaking $5.5 million for his first role.
9 He may be the cavalry in Fast and Furious 7 but the role was not originally intended for him. It was supposed to be played by an older action star. When The Rock stepped in, the role of Luke Hobbs was re-written.
10 Dwayne was also supposed to star as Johnny Bravo in a big screen adaptation. The film never took off.