Maria Shriver

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Maria Shriver

Also Known As: "Owings", "Schwarzenegger"
Birthplace: Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Sargent Shriver and Eunice Mary Shriver
Ex-wife of Arnold Aloïs Schwarzenegger
Mother of Katherine Schwarzenegger; Christina Maria Aurelia Schwarzenegger; Christopher Sargent Shriver Schwarzenegger and Patrick Arnold Schwarzenegger
Sister of Robert Sargent Shriver, III; Timothy Perry Shriver; Mark Kennedy Shriver and Anthony Paul Shriver

Occupation: Television Personality
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maria Shriver

Maria Owings Shriver (pronounced /ˈʃraɪvər/; born November 6, 1955) is an American award-winning journalist and author of six best-selling books. She has won a Peabody Award, and was co-anchor for NBC's Emmy-winning coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics. As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences award for a "television show with a conscience". She is the First Lady of California, married to actor and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and is a member of the Kennedy family.

Shriver was born in Chicago, Illinois. A Roman Catholic of German descent through her father and Irish American descent through her mother, she is the second child and only daughter of the politician Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Eunice was the sister of United States President John F. Kennedy, U.S. Attorney General and U.S. Senator Robert F. Kennedy, U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy and five other siblings. Shriver attended Westland Middle School in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC, and graduated in 1973 from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda. She received a bachelor of arts degree in American studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in June 1977.

Personal life

In 1977, Tom Brokaw introduced Maria to Austrian bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a charity tennis tournament being held at her mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver's home. She married Schwarzenegger on April 26, 1986 in Hyannis, Massachusetts, at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church.[3] They have four children: Katherine Eunice Schwarzenegger (born December 13, 1989 in Los Angeles, California); Christina Maria Aurelia Schwarzenegger (born July 23, 1991 in Los Angeles, California);[4] Patrick Arnold Shriver Schwarzenegger (born September 18, 1993 in Los Angeles, California);[5] and Christopher Sargent Shriver Schwarzenegger[6] (born September 27, 1997 in Los Angeles, California).[7]

The Saint John's Health Center has a nursery named after Shriver.[8][9]

Shriver has been a lifelong advocate for people with mental disabilities. She is a member of the International Board of Special Olympics, the organization her mother founded in 1968.[10] She is also on the advisory board of Best Buddies, a one-to-one friendship and jobs program for people with intellectual disabilities.[11] In addition, Shriver serves as Chair of the Audi Best Buddies Challenge: Hearst Castle, a bike ride that raises millions of dollars for programs supporting people with intellectual disabilities. As First Lady, Shriver has been instrumental in the hiring of individuals with intellectual disabilities in the capitol and in various state offices through her WE Include program.[12]


In her book Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World (2000), Shriver says that she became passionate about broadcast journalism after being sent to the back of the campaign plane with the press corps when volunteering for her father's 1972 U.S. vice-presidential race, calling these orders "the best thing that ever happened to me." After her journalism career began with KYW-TV in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she co-anchored the CBS Morning News with Forrest Sawyer from 1985 until 1987, co-anchored NBC News's Sunday Today and weekend editions of NBC Nightly News from 1987 until 1989, and was a contributing anchor on Dateline NBC from 1989 until 2004. In August 2003, Shriver took an unpaid leave of absence from NBC News when her husband became a candidate in the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election.

Upon her husband's November 17, 2003, inauguration as the 38th Governor of California, she became the First Lady of California. She then returned to reporting, making two more appearances for Dateline NBC.

On February 3, 2004, Shriver asked to be "relieved of [her] duties at NBC News," citing concerns the network had over the conflict of interest between her role as a journalist and her status as the First Lady of California and her increasing role as an advocate of her husband's administration.[13]

She appeared as herself in the film Last Action Hero (1993). She also played a minor role as herself in "Be Prepared", a 2006 episode of the television series That's So Raven promoting a "Preparedness Plan". On March 23, 2007, Shriver returned to television news as substitute host of panel-discussion talk show Larry King Live on CNN with musician Sheryl Crow and other guests.

Shriver announced that she will not return to news media after the excessive media coverage of the death of Anna Nicole Smith.[14][15]

In 2008, Shriver executive-produced American Idealist: The Story of Sargent Shriver.[16] The documentary originally aired on PBS on January 21, 2008.[17] The film chronicled the life, accomplishments and vision of her father, Sargent Shriver.

In February 2008, Shriver launched an ice cream company called Lovin' Scoopful with her brother, Tim Shriver. 25% of the proceeds from Lovin' Scoopful benefits the Special Olympics.[18]

Shriver executive-produced The Alzheimer's Project, a four-part documentary series that premiered on HBO in May 2009[19] and later earned two Emmy Awards.[20] It was described by the Los Angeles Times as "ambitious, disturbing, emotionally fraught and carefully optimistic".[21] The series took a close look at cutting-edge research being done in the country's leading Alzheimer's laboratories. The documentary also examined the effects of this disease on patients and families. One of the Emmy Award-winning films, Grandpa, Do you Know Who I Am? is based on Shriver's best-selling children's book dealing with Alzheimer's.[22]

In October 2009, Shriver launched "The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything," a national study and comprehensive report conducted in partnership with the Center for American Progress, USC's Annenberg Center on Communication, Leadership and Policy, and the Rockefeller Foundation. The Shriver Report revealed that American woman, for the first time, make up half of the United States workforce and studied how that fact is impacting major institutions like family, business, government and faith organizations.[23] The report was released last year in partnership with Time magazine[24] and NBC News.[25] According to the New York Times, the report "was modeled on a study undertaken almost 50 years ago during the administration of John F. Kennedy, Ms. Shriver's uncle, and led by Eleanor Roosevelt."[26]

First Lady of California

During her husband's tenure as the Governor of California, Shriver was initially tentative in her role as the Governor's wife.[citation needed] Some speculated that she felt that her husband would not attempt to gain the Governor's seat in the recall election that drove Gray Davis from office.[who?] When Arnold announced his candidacy on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, she supported his candidacy. As her husband proposed a series of California ballot initiatives in November 2005, she decided to forgo any public support of her husband's proposals.[citation needed] Since Governor Schwarzenegger took office, Maria has continued to support her husband and has taken on several key initiatives as first lady—raising awareness of the contributions of women to the state, working on practical solutions to end cycles of poverty and encouraging all Californians to engage in acts of service to their communities. Once Schwarzenegger was elected, Shriver had to cut back on her news reporting in order to avoid conflicts of interest.[27]

Shriver has been leading the California Governor & First Lady's Conference on Women since Governor Schwarzenegger took office in 2003. Under her leadership, The Women's Conference event has grown into the nation's premier forum for women and now attracts more than 30,000 attendees and 100 world opinion leaders over two full days. Each year, the event has been held at the Long Beach Convention Center in October.[28] The event aims to inspire, empower and educate women to be Architects of Change.[29] Hundreds of luminaries have spoken at the conference including Oprah Winfrey, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright, Barbara Walters, Warren Buffett, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Richard Branson, Bono, Billie Jean King, Gloria Steinem, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.[30][31] She has been known to be a marijuana advocate and has stated many times that she will vote for its legalization on the November 2010 ballot.[citation needed]

In 2004, Shriver created The Minerva Awards to honor and reward "remarkable California women" who have changed their communities, their state, their country and the world with their courage, wisdom and strength.[32] The Minerva Awards are named after Minerva, the Roman goddess who adorns the California State Seal and "who symbolizes the dual nature of women as warriors and peacemakers".[33] The Minerva Awards are presented annually at The Women's Conference in Long Beach during a special ceremony. Recipients of the award also receive a grant to continue their work.[34] Past Minerva Awards recipients include former first lady Betty Ford, Nancy Pelosi, Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King, astronaut Sally Ride and the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Shriver's mother.The achievements of The Minerva Award winners are chronicled in a permanent exhibit at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts in Sacramento and have become part of California’s official state archive.[35]

In 2005, Shriver launched her WE Connect Program, which connects working families in need with money-saving programs and support services. WE Connect brings together community organizations and businesses, government agencies and state leaders, congregations and schools as partners in responding to the needs for the millions of individuals and families who are struggling to make ends meet. Through a partnership with La Opinion, the nation’s largest Spanish-speaking newspaper, WE Connect has developed three editions of a 24-page, full color, bi-lingual supplement that has been circulated to over 20 million Californians in need. In December 2009, Shriver, in partnership with The Women's Conference, created the WE Connect–Million Meals Initiative.[36] Through this initiative, The Women's Conference made a donation to The California Association of Food Banks to provide more than one million meals to California families in need.[37] The donation was allocated to the food bank's 44 member organizations who then distributed the food to California families through its more than 5,000 community-based organizations.[38] In March 2010, Shriver held a three-day Community Resources Fair in Fresno and Los Angeles through WE Connect. The fairs provided vital programs and free support services such as tax preparation, housing and home foreclosure assistance, job assistance, flu shots, healthy food distribution and more.[39] Event organizers estimated that over 40,000 individuals took advantage of free services during the course of the two weekends and hundreds of thousands pounds of food were distributed.[40]

As First Lady, Shriver has worked to promote service and volunteerism. As Honorary Chair of CaliforniaVolunteers, Shriver conceived of and launched the largest statewide volunteer matching network at Shriver was instrumental in inspiring Governor Schwarzenegger to establish the nation’s first state cabinet-level Department of Service and Volunteering.[41] She also has pioneered and promoted a statewide disaster preparedness program called WE Prepare that encourages and educates Californians to “Be Ready” for an emergency or natural disaster. In addition, Shriver established WE Build and WE Garden, a children’s playground and community garden-building initiative. Through CaliforniaVolunteers, Shriver has built 31 playgrounds with gardens in lower-income communities around the state in partnership with KaBOOM!.[42]

In 2008, Shriver launched her WE Invest Program, which provides training, mentoring, support networks, microloans and other resources to help women launch or grow their businesses. In June 2009, she expanded WE Invest nationally through a partnership with, creating the first-ever online peer-to-peer microlending program in the U.S.[43] Shriver is credited with coming up with the idea to bring Kiva's international micro-lending model to the U.S.[43][44]

Shriver is Co-Chair of The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts[45] and she has been credited with revitalizing the state museum during her tenure. Shriver created the California Hall of Fame in 2006[46] at the Museum to honor legendary Californians such as Cesar Chavez, Clint Eastwood, Walt Disney, Amelia Earhart, Ronald Reagan, John Steinbeck, Rita Moreno, Earl Warren, Julia Morgan, Leland Stanford, Dorothea Lange and others.[47] In November 2008, Shriver launched the California Legacy Trails, a first-of-its-kind web-based multimedia learning tool designed to help student learn California history.[48][49]

On February 3, 2008, Shriver endorsed Senator Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination. The endorsement was given at a UCLA rally featuring her cousin Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder and the candidate's spouse, Michelle Obama.[50][51] Governor Schwarzenegger had previously endorsed Senator John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination a few days earlier on January 31, 2008.[52]

In May 2009, Shriver planted the first edible garden at a state capitol in what once was a flower bed. She teamed up with Alice Waters on the project.[53] The food grown in the organic garden is distibuted to local food banks.[54] Shriver has been an advocate for edible gardens and chairs the California School Garden Network that has doubled the number of gardens in state schools from 3,000 to 6,000 since 2004.[55]


A type of rose was named after Shriver in October 2004. The Maria Shriver rose has starchy-white blooms and a powerful citrus fragrance.[56]

As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences award for a "television show with a conscience".[57]

In 2009, Shriver was honored with the Shinnyo-en Foundation’s 2009 Pathfinders to Peace Award, which is bestowed annually to a person who exemplifies the ideals of compassion, harmony and peace.[58] At the presentation ceremony honoring Shriver, the foundation’s chief executive said, “Maria Shriver sees the best in other people – their innate goodness – and inspires them to become their own 'Architects of Change'. In a world that glorifies ambition at any cost, Maria instead teaches character. She is a woman of quiet strength who role-models kindness and charity, and has used her celebrity to help create peace in the world.”[59]

She has won Peabody and Emmy awards for her television journalism.[60]


Shriver, Maria (2000). Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 9780446526128.

Shriver, Maria (2001). What's Wrong With Timmy?. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 9780316233378.

Shriver, Maria (2004). What's Happening to Grandpa?. Little Brown Young Publishing. ISBN 0316001015.

Shriver, Maria (2005). And One More Thing Before You Go.... The Free Press. ISBN 9780743281010.

Shriver, Maria (2007). What's Heaven?. Golden Books Adult Publishing. ISBN 9780312382414.

Shriver, Maria (2008). Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question, Little Book, Answer Within. Hyperion. ISBN 9781401323189.

Maria Owings Shriver (pronounced /ˈʃraɪvər/; born November 6, 1955)[1] is an award-winning American journalist and author, and the First Lady of California. She is married to actor and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and is a member of the Kennedy family.

Maria Schwarzenegger is Dorothy Willard's 12th cousin.

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Maria Shriver's Timeline

November 6, 1955
Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, United States
December 13, 1989
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States
July 23, 1991
Los Angeles, CA, United States
September 18, 1993
Los Angeles, CA, United States
September 27, 1997
Los Angeles, CA, United States
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Georgetown University
Georgetown University