Dwayne Johnson pays tribute to late father in award acceptance speech: 'He was a trailblazer'
Dwayne Johnson honored his late father Rocky in an emotional speech on Friday, just over a year after the elder Johnson's death at age 75.
The Jungle Cruise star received the Hollywood Critics Association's Trailblazer Award during the group's fourth annual HCA Film Awards Friday night. Johnson delivered a virtual acceptance speech after a short video documenting the actor's longtime support for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as well as his donations to first responders and other workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The thing that got me about the video... is just how lucky I am, how grateful I am, how fortunate we all are," Johnson said, noting that watching the clip made him "emotional." "It's the anchoring reminder that if we're lucky enough and fortunate enough to be in a position where you can make somebody feel good and you can create moments for them that they will never forget for the rest of their lives — that is power."
"That's real accountability to humanity, when you just do good for people," he added. "You don't gotta be famous. It doesn't matter what's in your bank account, or what kind of car you drive. That s--- doesn't matter. It's just how you make people feel."
Johnson went on to dedicate the award to his father, saying, "Man, that guy was a trailblazer. As complicated as our relationship was, our father-son relationship — tough love, tough love — he was a real trailblazer, because what trailblazers do is, they change people's behavior. And that's what he did. And he did everything he could to send people home happy."
Rocky Johnson, a former professional wrestler, died unexpectedly in January 2020. The younger Johnson previously paid tribute to his father in a lengthy Instagram post soon after his death, writing, "Dad, I wish I had one more shot to tell you, I love you, before you crossed over to the other side.... You lived a very full, very hard, barrier-breaking life and left it all in the ring. I love you dad and I'll always be your proud and grateful son."
Joseph Lee Anderson currently plays Rocky Johnson on NBC's Young Rock, a sitcom based on Dwayne Johnson's life.