Was Dwayne Johnson’s grandfather in James Bond? Meet Peter Maivia

Bruno Cooke April 28, 2021
Was Dwayne Johnson’s grandfather in James Bond? Meet Peter Maivia
Photo By: NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s connection to James Bond goes further than the fact that they are both action heroes. His maternal grandfather, Fanene Leifi Pita Maivia (or Peter Maivia for short) was in it, in 1967. Did you know Dwayne Johnson’s grandfather was in James Bond?

Who was Dwayne Johnson’s grandfather?

Johnson’s mother’s father was Peter Maivia (born Fanene Pita Anderson in 1937). 

He was a Samoan-American professional wrestler, and a promoter for the National Wrestling Alliance in Hawaii.

Maivia belonged to the Anoa’i family of professional wrestlers, and began his wrestling career in New Zealand, under the tutelage of Steve Rickard.

Later, he would win national and international heavyweight titles. Maivia wrestled his last match in 1981, defeating Victor Rivera

  • RELATED: Did Dwayne Johnson get drafted in the NFL?
YT: wwe

‘High Chief’ Peter Maivia

Maivia had several traditional Samoan tattoos covering his abdomen and legs, which represented his High Chief status.

Amituanai Anoa’i, father of the Wild Samoans wrestling family, considered Maivia a “blood brother”. He was thus an honorary member of the family.

Maivia died on 12 June, 1982, following a cancer diagnosis in 1981. His wife, Lia Maivia, died in 2008.

Dwayne Johnson posthumously inducted Peter Maivia, his maternal grandfather, into the WWE Hall of Fame that same year. Watch the video below.

  • ARTS: Did Jim Morrison have any children?

When Dwayne Johnson’s grandfather fought James Bond

In the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, Maivia plays a driver who transports Bond to the Osato headquarters.

His character then fights Bond (Sean Connery), wielding a Japanese katana, a curved, single-edged sword. Bond lunges at him with a sofa, but he soon regains control.

  • CULTURE: Get to know California governor Gavin Newsom’s second wife Jennifer
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson inducts Peter Maivia into the WWE Hall of Fame [Source: YouTube]

At various points in the fight, Maivia’s driver appears to have the upper hand. But, when Bond breaks a statue over his head, he loses consciousness.

The role is the only acting credit “High Chief” Peter Maivia had to his name.

However, in the 2016 Disney film Moana, the character design of Maui (voiced by Dwayne Johnson) was a nod to Peter Maivia.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Bruno Cooke has been a freelance journalist since 2019, primarily with GRV Media. He was an early contributor to The Focus, and has written for HITC, Groundviews and the Sheffield University newspaper – he earned his MA in Global Journalism there in 2021. He’s the Spoken Word Poetry Editor for The Friday Poem, and self-published his debut novel Reveries in 2019, which his mum called both a “fine read” and “excellent Christmas present”. Bruno has lived in China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines and likes, among other things: bicycle touring, black and white Japanese films, pub quizzes, fermentation and baklava. In 2023, Bruno will set off with his partner on a round-the-world cycle.