How The Rock Went From Having $7 To His Name, To Being The Highest-Paid Actor Of The Year

By on September 2, 2016 in ArticlesCelebrity News

The latest list of the world's highest-paid actors came out recently and there was a shakeup at the top. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson pushed three-time reigning champ Robert Downey Jr. from the top spot.

When the news came out, The Rock took to Twitter and said:

"Want to say two things about this. I started w/$7 bucks. If I can overcome, so can you. Waffle House on me!!"

The former professional wrestler turned actor made $64.5 million over the past year. That is double what he earned the year before and it is a vast difference from how he grew up.

Wrestling is in Dwayne Johnson's blood. His father, 'Soul Man' Johnson and his grandfather Peter Maivia were professional wrestlers.

Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

Aaron Davidson/Getty Images

When he was a teenager in Hawaii, his mother's car was repossessed and they were evicted from their home. Despite the economic hardships of his childhood, Johnson was a standout high school football player and went to the University of Miami, where he was a part of the 1991 national championship football team. Johnson loved playing football, but he had injuries that prevented him from pursuing an NFL career. He had to make a choice. He had $7 in his pocket. He needed a job. He wanted to play football.

Dwayne ended up playing in the Canadian Football League for $250 a week. He got cut and realized that his dreams of playing professional football were over. That's when he turned to the family business. He got his start in the minor leagues of the WWE and made his TV debut on the 1996 Survivor Series. He wrestled under the name Rocky Maivia, a combination of the wrestling names of his father and grandfather.

Dwayne Johnson was the first third-generation wrestler in WWE history and he is considered to be one of the greatest to ever enter the ring. He won the WWE heavyweight title six times and the tag-team title five times. He was a very popular figure in the WWE and this put him on Hollywood's radar.

One day The Rock got a call from New York. He was asked to host Saturday Night Live. He was so shocked, he nearly fell out of his chair. His SNL hosting gig was a big success and led to more acting jobs. He made his feature film debut in 2001's The Mummy Returns. He mad $5.5 million for his first film job. That is more than any first time actor has made in their first leading role.

By the time The Rock starred in 2003's The Rundown, he was a certified action/comedy star. Johnson starred in a handful of films but he was looking for a bigger and better opportunity – like a film franchise. He got that when he appeared in the fifth film in the Fast and the Furious franchise, Fast Five. That film went on to make $676 million worldwide. Johnson has appeared in the sixth and seventh films in the franchise as well. Furious 7 made $1.5 billion worldwide. Johnson recently wrapped up work on Fast 8.

Throughout his wresting and acting career, Johnson has been known for his strong work ethic. He eats seven meals a day to fuel his intense body building workouts.

Johnson may be at the top of the Hollywood food chain now, but he hasn't forgotten his wrestling roots. From time to time, he returns to the ring for events like Wrestlemania. Why does he do it? Because he loves wrestling.

Johnson is the World's Highest Paid Actor for a reason, he has a number of projects going simultaneously. Besides the Fast and Furious movies, Johnson is starring in the second season of the HBO series Ballers, he teamed up with Kevin Hart for the biggest grossing comedy of the year ($110 million), Central Intelligence, and he's also recently wrapped the film adaptation of Baywatch. Also in the works are San Andreas 2, Doc Savage, and Jumanji.

It isn't hard to see why Dwayne Johnson is such a big star. He's charming, charismatic, has a great work ethic, and remains thankful for how far he's come from that day when he was at a crossroads with $7 to his name. Dwayne Johnson has a net worth of $190 million.

Articles Written by Amy Lamare
Amy Lamare is a Los Angeles based writer covering business, technology, entertainment, philanthropy, and pop culture. She spent 8 1/2 years covering the entertainment industry for www.hsx.com. She attended the University of Southern California where she majored in Creative Writing. An avid long distance runner, weekends she can be found running the streets of Los Angeles training for 1/2 and full marathons. Follow her on Facebook.
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