First Lady of California
“California Women are trailblazers in everything they do. They've made history by doing things their way. They didn't wait to be asked. They didn't wait to be invited. And they didn't wait to be told! They just did. I love people who just do.” Maria Shriver
A member of the most celebrated political family in American history, the Kennedys, Maria Shriver had made a name for herself as TV newswoman before becoming the First Lady of California in 2003. Her husband is actor-turned-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. A national reporter for the syndicated series “P.M. Magazine” from 1981 to 1983, Shriver got her first breakthrough with CBS where she co-anchored and was a correspondent for the “CBS Morning News” (1985-1986). However, it was her long-running stint with NBC that really propelled the competent journalist to fame. She co-anchored “Sunday Today” and “NBC Nightly News” and hosted a series of popular news specials “First Person With Maria Shriver.” She also served as contributing anchor on “Dateline NBC” from 1995 to until her resignation in 2004. Also a best-selling author, Shriver had written six successful books: “What's Heaven” (1999), “Ten Things I Wish I'd Known--Before I Went Into the Real World” (2000), “What's Wrong With Timmy?” (2001), “What's Happening to Grandpa?” (2004) and “And One More Thing Before You Go--” (2005) and “Just Who Will You Be? : Big Question, Little Book, Answer Within” (2008). The latter book discusses about the difficulties she had adapting to ending her prospering career as NBC News correspondent when her husband became the governor of California.
Married in 1986, Shriver and Schwarzenegger have four children together.
The Kennedy Clan
Childhood and Family:
Maria Owings Shriver was born on November 6, 1955, in Chicago, Illinois. Part of the illustrious Kennedy family, her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is the sister of the former President John F. Kennedy and Robert Francis Kennedy, who served as US Attorney General and also US Senator from New York. Her father, Robert Sargent Shriver Jr., a noted politician and diplomat, was the first director of Peace Corps and a one-time vice presidential candidate. Maria has four brothers: Robert Sargent Shriver III (born on April 28, 1954), Timothy Perry Shriver (born on August 29, 1959), Mark Kennedy Shriver (born on February 17, 1964) and Anthony Paul Shriver (born on July 20, 1965).
Raised in Washington, D.C., Maria was educated at Westland Middle School in Bethesda, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, DC. and graduated from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, Maryland in 1973. She went on to earn a B.A. in American Studies from Georgetown University in June 1977.
In 1977, Maria met Austrian bodybuilder and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger at a charity tennis tournament which was held at her mother's home. They married nine years later on April 26, 1986 at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Maria gave birth to the couple's first child, daughter Katherine Eunice Schwarzenegger, on December 13, 1989 in Los Angeles, CA. Maria and her husband have since had three more children, daughter Christina Aurelia Schwarzenegger (born on July 23, 1991) and sons Patrick Schwarzenegger (born on September 18, 1993) and Christopher Sargent Shriver Schwarzenegger (born on September 27, 1997). A loyal Roman Catholic, Maria and her family attend mass at St. Monica's Catholic Church every Sunday. The family has vacations homes in Sun Valley, Idaho and Hyannis, Massachusetts.
In 2003, Maria became the First Lady of California after her husband took political office as the Governor of California, replacing Gray Davis.
After completing college in 1977, Maria Shriver started her career as news writer and producer for KYW-TV in Philadelphia, PA and moved to WJZ-TV in Baltimore, MD in 1978. She wrote and produced the Baltimore-based show “Evening Magazine.” The niece of former American President John Fitzgerald Kennedy got her first national exposure in 1981 when she served as national reporter for the syndicated series “P.M. Magazine,” a joint arrangement between stations conveying the best of local news reporting nationwide. She held the position for two years until 1983. At the same year she began her tenure on the show, Shriver also produced the syndicated show “Portrait of a Legend,” along with Debbie Williams.
Shriver's career received boost in 1983 when CBS News recruited her as a reporter. Within two years, she had won a spot as co-anchor of the “CBS Morning News” (1985-1986), in which she also became a correspondent. Moving to NBC, Shriver became a correspondent for the news show “1986” in 1986 before becoming the first host of “Main Street,” a primetime news magazine show targeted at young audiences, from 1987 to 1988. Also in 1987, she began her three-year tenure as co-host of NBC's “Sunday Today.”
By the end of the 1980s, the Chicago native had verified she was on her way achieving stardom by becoming a fill-in anchor for both “Today” and “NBC Nightly News,” which prompted speculation that she could be eligible to become a network's major national news anchor one day although her marriage to actor Arnold Schwarzenegger had positioned her to the West Coast. Several other works followed, including as host for the magazine series “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” (1989) and the short-lived “Cutting Edge With Maria Shriver” (1990), a special created to hit a younger viewer. In 1990, she started hosting the primetime news special “First Person with Maria Shriver,” through which she would spend the next rest of the decade conducting a number of high-profile interviews with such famous persons as Ted Turner, Fidel Castro, Sarah Ferguson, Magic Johnson, and Marilyn Van Derbur, the former Miss America and criminal congress survivor.
Shriver was still a dominant contributor to NBC News. She took part in the coverage of political conventions in 1992 and was a corespondent in Little Rock reporting President Clinton's triumph speech in 1996. However, she is probably best recalled for her long-term tenure as a contributing anchor to “Dateline NBC.” Joining the magazine series in 1994, she took an unpaid leave of absence in 2003 when husband Arnold Schwarzenegger became a candidate in the California recall election. When he finally won the gubernatorial seat, Shriver resigned from NBC in 2004 to focus on her new duty as the First Lady of California.
As the wife of governor, Shriver has assumed numerous important initiatives, including improving consciousness of women's contributions to the state, inspiring all Californians to involve in acts of service to their communities as well as working on virtual methods to terminate cycles of impoverishment.
Shriver, who came from a well-known Democratic family, joined Caroline Kennedy, Oprah Winfrey, Stevie Wonder to support the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama for the 2008 Democratic Presidential Nomination by participating in a rally held at the University of California, Los Angeles in February 2008. A few days before, her Republican governor husband endorsed Senator John McCain for the Republican Presidential nomination. She stated, “It was kind of a struggle between my mind and heart. I’d be honored to vote for either one of those two people come November. I think many people who are involved in this election have come out for one person or another. But (Obama) spoke to my heart, and seeing how hard it is to bring people from different parties together, I really identified to that level.”
Outside of journalism and politics, the captivating brunette is a fruitful writer. In 1999, she released a children's book called “What's Heaven,” which went on to become a bestseller. She followed it up with other successful books like the self-help “Ten Things I Wish I'd Known--Before I Went Into the Real World” (2000), “What's Wrong With Timmy?” (2001), a children's book about disabilities, “What's Happening to Grandpa?” (2004) and “And One More Thing Before You Go--” (2005). Her new book, “Just Who Will You Be? : Big Question, Little Book, Answer Within,” hit the market in 2008. It covers the troubles of leaving her long-term career in television journalism in oder to support her husband in his quite abrupt run for governor of California in 2003.
“I’ll be a work in progress, I hope, until my dying day. There is no set definition for who I am today. I have no specific career. I’m an evolving woman and I like that I’m a work in progress. I thought I’d be cooked at this age and the fact that I’m not is both exhilarating and scary.” Maria Shriver