Born on November 6, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois, Maria Shriver is the niece of John F. Kennedy. She started as a news writer and producer at a Philadelphia television station. She joined NBC in 1986 as a correspondent. She resigned in 2003 when her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, became the Governor of California. After Schwarzenegger's infidelity was revealed, the couple divorced in 2011. Shriver has penned several books and is an advocate for multiple causes including building playgrounds in lower income neighborhoods.
Early Career & Marriage
Journalist and former First Lady of California Maria Owings Shriver was born on November 6, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois. Shriver is the daughter of prominent politican and diplomat Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver, sister of John F. and Robert Kennedy. She graduated from Georgetown University in June 1977 with a B.A. in American studies and began her career as a newswriter and producer for Philadelphia's KYW-TV later that year. That year, TV newsman Tom Brokaw introduced Shriver to bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the couple began dating.
In 1978, Shriver started work at Baltimore's WJZ-TV, where she wrote and produced the Baltimore-based show Evening Magazine. In September 1983, Shriver began reporting for CBS News and soon won a spot as co-anchor of the CBS Morning News.
In 1986, she joined NBC News as a correspondent and became an anchor for Main Street, a news magazine aimed at young people. On April 26 of that year, Shriver made headlines herself when she married Schwarzenegger at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Hyannis, Massachusetts.
From 1987 to 1990, she served as a co-anchor on NBC's Sunday Today. In 1990, she began hosting a series of news specials entitled First Person with Maria Shriver. Since then she has conducted numerous interviews with notable figures including Fidel Castro, Ted Turner, Magic Johnson and Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York.
First Lady of California
Shriver was a reporter for NBC's Dateline NBC from 1989 until August of 2003, but took a leave of absence when her husband, actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, became a candidate in the California recall election. Upon his inauguration as the 38th Governor of California on November 17, 2003, Shriver became the First Lady of California. A few months later, she resigned from NBC citing a conflict of interest between her role as a journalist and her status as First Lady.
As First Lady of California, Shriver served as an advocate for many social causes. She helped develop and launch a special website to match volunteers with organizations needing assistance. Shriver led the First Lady’s Conference on Women, and created initiatives to focus on the needs of women, the working poor, military families and the intellectually and developmentally disabled. She also supported the construction of playgrounds and community gardens in lower income areas.
Shriver serves on the boards of numerous charitable organizations, including Best Buddies, which pairs mentors with people with intellectual disabilities. Another cause close to her heart is the Special Olympics, which was established by her mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver in 1968.
Serving as executive producer, Shriver helped bring the HBO documentary The Alzheimer's Project to television in May 2009. The four-part program, which provided an in-depth look at this devastating brain disorder, won two Emmy Awards. Advancing understanding of the disease and supporting medical research became a personal mission for Shriver after her father was diagnosed with the disease in 2003.
Personal Life & Divorce
In 2009, Shriver experienced two great personal losses. Her mother died on August 11th at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Two weeks later, Shriver lost her uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy, who had been battling brain cancer. After her uncle's death, Shriver appeared on Meet the Press. She described her late uncle as "the most compassionate, empathetic man."
In 2011, Shriver faced more personal challenges in the public eye. It was revealed in May that Schwarzenegger had fathered a son, Joseph, with Mildred Patricia Baena, the couple's housekeeper for two decades. After Schwarzenegger acknowledged that he had an affair more than a decade earlier and that Baena's child was his, Shriver moved out of their Brentwood mansion. On July 1, 2011, Shriver filed for divorce from her husband of more than 20 years. Shriver and Schwarzenegger have four children: Katherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher.
Later Career & Other Projects
Shriver has established herself as a successful author. She has written several works, including a successful series of children's books. Her most recent work is Just Who Will You Be? (2008). In 2013, she returned to NBC as an correspondent and a fill-in anchor. Additionally, she's produced a number of television series and films including The Alzheimer's Project, Paycheck to Paycheck: The Life and Times of Katrina Gilbert, and the award-winning movie Still Alice. She’s also appeared as herself on numerous shows such as The Dr. Oz Show, The Eighties and Home & Family.
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