Maria Shriver is a famous American journalist and activist known for her long association with NBC. She was also the First Lady of California for seven years as the then-wife of Arnold Schwarzenegger, former governor of California. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Shriver is the daughter of American diplomat Sargent Shriver and niece of former US President John F. Kennedy. She began her career as a journalist after graduating from the ‘Georgetown University’ in Washington. While working as a journalist, she wrote a book titled 'Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World.' She was also a co-anchor for NBC’s coverage of the 1988 Summer Olympics, which won an ‘Emmy Award.’ She resigned when Arnold Schwarzenegger became the governor of California. Shriver also hosted and co-produced a TV program named 'The Alzheimer's Project.' It won her two ‘Emmy Awards.’ She returned to NBC after her divorce from Schwarzenegger. She currently works as a special anchor and correspondent for ‘NBC News.’
Childhood & Early Life
Maria Owings Shriver was born on 6 November 1955, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Her father Sargent Shriver was an American politician and diplomat, while her mother Eunice Kennedy Shriver is a sister of former US President John F. Kennedy.
Shriver studied at ‘Westland Middle School’ in Bethesda, Maryland, and later went to ‘Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart’ from where she graduated in 1973. She then attended ‘Georgetown University’ and got her BA in American studies in 1977.
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Career in Journalism
After completing her studies, Maria Shriver started working as a news writer and producer for KYW-TV, a TV station based in Philadelphia. Later, she started working at WJZ-TV where she wrote and produced the show ‘Evening Magazine.’ She eventually moved on to work for ‘CBS News’where she co-anchored the popular show ‘CBS Morning News.’
She joined ‘NBC News’ in 1987 as a correspondent. Soon, she started anchoring shows, such as ‘Main Street’ and ‘Sunday Today.’ A few years later, she started hosting a show titled ‘First Person with Maria Shriver.’ She conducted interviews of several well-known personalities, such as Fidel Castro, Sarah Ferguson, and Magic Johnson.
From 1992 to 2004, she was a contributing anchor to the weekly show ‘Dateline NBC.’ She also appeared as herself in the 1993 film ‘Last Action Hero.’ Shortly after her husband became the governor of California in November 2003, she resigned from NBC.
In 2008, she served as an executive producer for the show ‘American Idealist: The Story of Sargent Shriver.’ The show revolved around her father and his vision and accomplishments.
Shriver also served as an executive producer for the documentary series ‘The Alzheimer’s Project.’ The show earned a lot of appreciation for its detailed look at Alzheimer’s disease, which affects millions of people worldwide. It won her two ‘Emmy Awards.’
In the year 2009, she launched ‘The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything.’Her study showed that American women make up half the work force of the United States. It also showed how it impacts families, businesses, and government.
Also an author, Shriver has published several books, such as ‘Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World,’ ‘What's Happening to Grandpa?’ and ‘And One More Thing Before You Go..’Twoyears after her divorce, she rejoined NBC as a special anchor. She covers issues surrounding the roles of women in America.
First Lady of California
Maria Shriver became the First Lady of California when her then-husband Arnold Schwarzenegger became the governor of California. During this time, she supported many important social causes.
She helped ‘The Women’s Conference’ grow and become the nation’s premier forum for women. Her initiatives helped bring focus on the needs of women, poor, as well as the disabled. She launched the ‘Minerva Awards’ in 2004, in order to reward those women of California who worked hard to bring about a change to society.
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She is also known for her commitment towards the intellectually disabled. She has been involved with several charitable organizations, such as ‘Best Buddies’ and ‘Special Olympics.’ She started the ‘WE Connect Program’ in order to bring together community organizations, government agencies, and state leads to help struggling individuals and families in need.
As the chairperson of ‘CaliforniaVolunteers,’ Shriver promoted service and volunteerism. In order to help women start or grow their businesses, she started the ‘WE Invest Program.’ Later, she also started a project to plant the first edible garden at a state capitol.
In her children’s book ‘What’s happening to Grandpa?,’ Maria Shriver attempts to explain the various aspects of Alzheimer's disease to young children in a simple and lucid language. The book proved to be a major success.
Shriver served as an executive producer for the documentary TV series ‘The Alzheimer’s Project.’ The show provided detailed analysis of Alzheimer’s disease, a devastating and irreversible brain disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It destroys a person’s memory as well as thinking skills. The show earned much appreciation and won two ‘Emmy Awards.’
Awards & Achievements
For the show ‘The Alzheimer’s Project,’ Maria Shriver won two ‘Emmy Awards’ as well as an ‘Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Award.’ She has also won a ‘Peabody Award’ for her contribution to journalism.
In 2009, she was awarded the ‘Pathfinders to Peace Award’ by the ‘Shinnyo-en Foundation’ for her contribution to various social causes.
In 2017, she became the recipient of the first ever ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’of the ‘Alzheimer’s Association.’
Maria Shriver met actor Arnold Schwarzenegger during the early years of her journalism career. Shortly after, the two started dating and got married in April 1986. The wedding took place at ‘St Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church’ in Hyannis, Massachusetts. The couple was blessed with four children, namely Katherine, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher.
Maria and Arnold announced their separation in May 2011. She decided to end the marriage after learning of Schwarzenegger’s secret relationship with their housekeeper with whom he had fathered a child. Their divorce was finalized in 2017.
In 2013, Shriver started dating Matthew Dowd, a political consultant.