The Rock is the 2005 spokesperson for the Will Rogers Institute. Each summer in movie theatres across the country, Will Rogers Institute embarks upon a special fund raising event - the Summer Theatrical PSA. One hundred percent of the money raised from this campaign funds the Institute's mission in the areas of medical research and health education. Approximately three-fourths of Will Rogers Institute operating budget is generated in this manner.
The Summer Theatrical PSA involves a trailer - a short preview film shown before a feature movie discussing the scope and purpose of Will Rogers Memorial Fund. In 1936, the first campaign trailer was produced starring Shirley Temple and Bing Crosby. Throughout the decades, a variety of movie stars and celebrities including Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, Clint Eastwood, Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Charlton Heston, and Barbra Streisand, to name a few, have hosted the Summer Theatrical PSA trailer.
Dwayne Douglas Johnson was born in Hayward, California on May 2nd 1972 to Rocky Johnson and Ata Johnson. While growing up, Dwayne would travel around a lot with his parents and would watch his father perform in the ring. During his high school years, Dwayne began playing football and he soon received a full scholarship from the University of Miami where he had tremendous success as a football player. In 1995, Dwayne suffered a back injury which cost him a place in the NFL. He then signed a 3 year deal with the Canadian League but left after a year to peruse a career in wrestling. Dwayne made his wrestling debut in the USWA under the name Flex Kavanah where he won the tag team championship with Bret Sawyer.
In 1996, Dwayne joined the WWE and became Rocky Maivia where he joined a group known as "The Nation of Domination" and turned heel. Rocky eventually took over leadership of the "Nation" and began taking the persona of The Rock. After the "Nation" split, The Rock joined another elite group of wrestlers known as the "Corporation" and began a memorable feud with Steve Austin. Soon the Rock was kicked out of the "Corporation". He turned face and became known as "The Peoples Champion". In 2000, the Rock took time off from WWE to film his appearance in The Mummy Returns (2001). He returned in 2001 during the WCW/ECW invasion where he joined a team of WWE wrestlers at The Scorpion King (2002), a prequel to The Mummy Returns (2001). He is currently married to Dany Johnson (Garcia) and they have a daughter named Simone Alexandra, born in 2001.
The Will Rogers Institute is a national health organization dedicated to the support of lung research and developing new treatments and cures for pulmonary diseases and disorders. Throughout the 1920's and '30's, tuberculosis (TB) was as familiar to vaudevillians as were cold dressing rooms, drafty theatres and damp hotels, which increased the spread of the disease. In 1927, the National Vaudeville Artists (NVA) founded a lodge at Saranac Lake, New York, as a convalescent home for performers afflicted with TB. The mission of the hospital was to treat tuberculosis patients as welcome and wanted friends, not outcasts.
Although the Lodge prospered at first, the continuing national depression and a decline in the vaudeville phase of entertainment created financial difficulties. It became necessary for the NVA to transfer responsibilities for the hospital to the Will Rogers Memorial Commission. This commission had been formed in 1935 following the death of Will Rogers in an airplane crash at Point Barrow, Alaska. In an attempt to perpetuate the memory of Will Rogers, the commission determined that if the services of the lodge extended to benefit all people in entertainment, it would be a significant memorial to the man who loved all mankind. The Will Rogers Commission's corporation name was changed to the Will Rogers Memorial Fund and the hospital was named the "The Will Rogers Hospital." This announcement launched the first Will Rogers Audience Collections in movie theatres. The appeal trailer created for this featured Irvin S. Cobb, Shirley Temple, May Robinson, Lowell Thomas and Bing Crosby who sang Will Rogers' favorite song "Home on the Range." Audience collections soon became the main source of funds for the hospital. Today, the Summer Theatrical Public Service Announcement remains the main source of funding.
During the 50's and 60's, the Will Rogers Memorial Fund broadened its activities to include a wider range and focus. A teaching and training program for medical research was created in 1962 and continues today through Will Rogers' fellowship programs. During this period, pulmonary research became a primary concern. Doctors and scientists were encouraged to study the complex problems associated with lung diseases, especially tuberculosis. These scientific investigations yielded dramatic results culminating in the discovery of a cure for tuberculosis. Ironically, finding a treatment for TB greatly diminished the number of patients at the hospital, leading to its closing in 1975.
Helping out is as easy as going to the movies! Your contribution funds pulmonary research, finds treatments and cures for lung diseases and disorders, and provides free booklets on important health topics. Donate today.
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