Maria Shriver

Maria Shriver
Maria Shriver
at a Womens Conference book signing
(October 2010)
First Lady of California
In office
November 17, 2003 – January 3, 2011
Preceded by Sharon Davis
Succeeded by Anne Gust Brown
Personal details
Born November 6, 1955 (1955-11-06) (age 56)
Chicago, Illinois, US
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Arnold Schwarzenegger
Relations Parents: Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy Shriver
Siblings: Anthony Shriver, Bobby Shriver, Mark Shriver, Timothy Shriver
Grandparents: Rose Kennedy and Joseph P. Kennedy
Aunts: Rosemary Kennedy, Kathleen Cavendish, Patricia Kennedy Lawford, Jean Kennedy Smith, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joan Bennett Kennedy, Ethel Kennedy
Uncles: Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr.
US President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy
see Kennedy family
Children Katherine, Christina, Patrick, Christopher
Residence Brentwood, Los Angeles, California
Alma mater Georgetown University
Profession Journalist, author
Religion Catholic

Maria Owings Shriver (play /ˈʃrvər/; born November 6, 1955)[1] is an American journalist and author of six best-selling books. She has received 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 developing a "television show with a conscience".[2] She was formerly First Lady of California as the wife of actor and then-California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, from whom she is now separated. She is a member of the Kennedy family (John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy were her uncles on her mother's, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, side).


Early life and family

Shriver was born in Chicago, Illinois. A Roman Catholic[3] 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, D.C., and graduated in 1973 from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda. She attended Manhattanville College for two years and then transferred and went on to receive a bachelor of arts degree in American studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in June 1977.[4][5]


Media career and advocacy

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 while 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 August 1985 until August 1986, co-anchored NBC News's Sunday Today from 1987 until 1990 and Sunday editions of NBC Nightly News from 1989 until 1993, and was a contributing anchor on Dateline NBC from 1992 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.

Following 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.[6]

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 the news media after the excessive media coverage of the death of Anna Nicole Smith.[7][8]

In 2008, Shriver executive-produced American Idealist: The Story of Sargent Shriver.[9] The documentary originally aired on PBS on January 21, 2008.[10] The film chronicled the life, accomplishments and vision of her father, Sargent Shriver. Shriver also serves on the advisory board of the Sargent Shriver Peace Institute, which raises public awareness of her father’s legacy as a peacebuilder and offers educational and training programs grounded in the principles of public service that motivate the many programs he created, including the Peace Corps, Job Corps, Head Start, and Legal Services for the Poor.[11]

Shriver has been a lifelong advocate for people with intellectual disabilities. She is a member of the International Board of Special Olympics, the organization her mother founded in 1968.[12] She is also on the advisory board of Best Buddies, a one-to-one friendship and jobs program for people with intellectual disabilities.[13] 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.[14] In February 2008, Shriver launched an ice cream company called Lovin' Scoopful with her brother, Tim Shriver. Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from Lovin' Scoopful benefits the Special Olympics.[15]

Shriver executive-produced The Alzheimer's Project, a four-part documentary series that premiered on HBO in May 2009[16] and later earned two Emmy Awards.[17] It was described by the Los Angeles Times as "ambitious, disturbing, emotionally fraught and carefully optimistic".[18] 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.[19]

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 women, 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.[20] The report was released last year in partnership with TIME[21] and NBC News.[22] 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, Shriver's uncle, and led by Eleanor Roosevelt."[23]

First Lady of California

After Governor Schwarzenegger took office, Shriver took on several key initiatives as first lady, which include 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.[24]

Maria Shriver with her husband at the 2007 Special Olympics in Shanghai, China

Shriver led the California Governor & First Lady's Conference on Women from when Schwarzenegger took office in 2003. Under her leadership, The Women's Conference event grew into the nation's premier forum for women and in 2010 attracted more than 30,000 attendees and 150 world opinion leaders over three full days. Each year, the event was held at the Long Beach Convention Center in October.[25] The event aims to inspire, empower and educate women to be Architects of Change.[26] 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.[27][28]

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.[29] 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".[30] 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.[31] 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.[32]

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, bilingual 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.[33] 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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36] 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.[37]

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.[38] She also 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!.[39]

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 Kiva, creating the first-ever online peer-to-peer microlending program in the U.S.[40] Shriver is credited with coming up with the idea to bring Kiva's international micro-lending model to the United States[40][41]

Shriver is Co-Chair of The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts[42] and she has been credited with revitalizing the state museum during her tenure. Shriver created the California Hall of Fame in 2006[43] 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.[44] In November 2008, Shriver launched the California Legacy Trails, a first-of-its-kind web-based multimedia learning tool designed to help students learn California history.[45][46]

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.[47][48] Governor Schwarzenegger had previously endorsed Senator John McCain for the Republican presidential nomination a few days earlier on January 31, 2008.[47]

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.[49] The food grown in the organic garden is distributed to local food banks.[50] 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.[51]

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's home. She married Schwarzenegger on April 26, 1986, in Hyannis, Massachusetts, at St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church.[52] They have four children: Katherine, Christina, Patrick and Christopher.

On May 9, 2011, Schwarzenegger and Shriver announced their separation after 25 years of marriage, with Shriver moving out of the couple's Brentwood mansion.[53][54][55] In a message for her Twitter followers posted on May 13, 2011, Shriver said: "Thank you all for the kindness, support and compassion. I am humbled by the love. Thank you."[56]

On May 17, 2011, Schwarzenegger publicly admitted to fathering a child with a long-time member of their household staff, Mildred Patricia Baena, 14 years earlier, and before his election as Governor of California.[57] What Schwarzenegger failed to mention was that he confessed to Shriver only after she confronted him with the information, after confirming what she had suspected about the child, in an earlier confrontation with the housekeeper.[58] Shriver described Schwarzenegger's admission as "painful and heartbreaking." She declined to speak further on the issue, saying: "As a mother, my concern is for the children. I ask for compassion, respect and privacy as my children and I try to rebuild our lives and heal."[59]

Shriver hired a divorce lawyer, Laura Wasser, whose previous clients include Angelina Jolie, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears, and officially filed for divorce on July 1, 2011,[60] citing "irreconcilable differences".[61] Wasser was hired before the news of the affair went public, a source close to Shriver told US publication People,[62] Shriver had been meeting with her financial advisor for some months before the decision to file the divorce petition. Shriver has also hired a private investigator to investigate Schwarzenegger's financial history and his personal life, including whether or not he has fathered more than one child out of wedlock.[63]

Shriver has purchased a new $10 million house only three miles away from her former home with Schwarzenegger in Brentwood. Although she has requested custody of the couple's two minor children, 17-year old Patrick and 13-year old Christopher, the mansions' proximity will make it easier for the boys to travel between their parents' houses. [64]

Shriver's 13-year-old son Christopher Schwarzenegger was seriously injured in a boogie-boarding accident in Malibu, on July 17, 2011. In a joint statement, Shriver and estranged husband Schwarzenegger described it as "scary," and that "he is expected to make a full recovery." Christopher has been in intensive care since suffering a collapsed lung and broken bones in the accident. [65]


A hybrid rose was named after Shriver in October 2004. The Maria Shriver rose contains starchy-white blooms and a powerful citrus fragrance.[66]

As executive producer of The Alzheimer's Project, Shriver earned two Emmy Awards and an Academy of Television Arts & Sciences award for developing a "television show with a conscience".[67]

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.[68] 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.”[69]

She has won Peabody and Emmy awards for her television journalism.[70]

The Saint John's Health Center has a nursery named after Shriver.[71][72]


  • Shriver, Maria (2000-04-04). Ten Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Went Out Into The Real World. Grand Central Publishing. ISBN 978-0-446-52612-8. 
  • Shriver, Maria; Sandra Speidel (2001-10-16). What's Wrong With Timmy?. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-23337-8. 
  • Shriver, Maria; Sandra Speidel (2004-04-28). What's Happening to Grandpa?. Little, Brown and Company. ISBN 978-0-316-00101-4. 
  • Shriver, Maria (2005-04-05). And One More Thing Before You Go.... The Free Press. ISBN 978-0-7432-8101-0. 
  • Shriver, Maria; Sandra Speidel (2007-10-30). What's Heaven?. Golden Books Adult Publishing. ISBN 978-0-312-38241-4. 
  • Shriver, Maria (2008-04-15). Just Who Will You Be?: Big Question, Little Book, Answer Within. Hyperion. ISBN 978-1-4013-2318-9. 

See also


  1. ^ Shriver known for her political bloodlines (October 9, 2003) Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved February 5, 2008.
  2. ^ TV academy honors 'television with a conscience'
  3. ^ Winfrey, Oprah (May 30, 2008). "Oprah Talks to Maria Shriver". The Oprah Winfrey Show. Retrieved September 16, 2010. 
  4. ^ About the Contributors The Shriver Report. Accessed May 23, 2011.
  5. ^ Well-known Georgetown Alumni. Accessed May 23, 2011.
  6. ^ Terminated
  7. ^ "Maria Shriver won't return to NBC News". USA Today. Associated Press. October 24, 2007. Retrieved April 28, 2008. 
  8. ^ Tanner, Adam (May 16, 2007). "Shriver says Anna Nicole frenzy ended her TV return". Reuters. Retrieved April 28, 2008. 
  9. ^ Bianco, Robert (January 21, 2008). "Critic's Corner Monday". USA Today. 
  10. ^ "American Idealist". January 21, 2008. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  11. ^ "California First Lady Maria Shriver". November 17, 2003. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  12. ^ Special Olympics Torch Lights Eunice Kennedy Shriver's Funeral
  13. ^ Shriver's legacy lives on through Best Buddies
  14. ^[dead link]
  15. ^ Using Ice Cream for Good: How Lovin' Scoopful is Working for the Special Olympics
  16. ^ HBO Documentaries: The Alzheimer's Project
  17. ^ "Tina Fey, Justin Timberlake Among Big Creative Arts Winners". September 12, 2009. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  18. ^ 'The Alzheimer's Project'
  19. ^ Maria Shriver Turns Spotlight On Alzheimer's
  20. ^ "Special report: Women today". MSNBC. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  21. ^ The American Woman
  22. ^ A Woman's Nation
  23. ^ NBC Plans Special Week of Coverage on Women
  24. ^ "In Step With: Maria Shriver". Parade Magazine. April 10, 2005. 
  25. ^ Women's Conference's future in Long Beach uncertain after 2010
  26. ^ Maria Shriver, Meghan McCain Helping Women Find Voices
  27. ^ Maria Shriver Announces Her Women's Conference Lineup
  28. ^ Maria Shriver Announces Star-Studded Women's Conference[dead link]
  29. ^ 'Remarkable California women' honored with Minerva Awards
  30. ^ Betty Chinn accepts Minerva Award, wins over crowd
  31. ^ 'A tsunami of hope': Maria Shriver cuts ribbon on Eureka's first public shower facility
  32. ^ "Minerva Award Exhibit". California Museum. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  33. ^ One Million Meals for Families in Need
  34. ^ Thadeus Greenson. "California first family hosts Betty Chinn, encourages outreach". Times-Standard Online. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  35. ^ Gov. visits Bay Area in effort to feed the hungry
  36. ^ Maria Shriver At "We Connect Weekend" In Fresno
  37. ^ Maria Shriver Talks About 'We Connect Weekend'[dead link]
  38. ^ California Creates Cabinet Post to Manage Volunteers
  39. ^ Obama and Maria Shriver: Making space for play – for all generations
  40. ^ a b Strategies: Shriver's big on small loans, for good reason
  41. ^ Kiva Brings Microlending Home To U.S. Entrepreneurs In Need
  42. ^ Home Page | California Museum
  43. ^ "History". California Museum. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  44. ^ Skelton, George (November 26, 2009). "California Hall of Fame inductees range from excellent to just OK". The Los Angeles Times. 
  45. ^ Maria Shriver Touts New Online Learning Tool
  46. ^ "Powered by Google Docs". Google. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  47. ^ a b Maria Shriver Backs Obama
  48. ^ Breaking: California First Lady Maria Shriver Endorses Barack Obama
  49. ^ Capitol edible garden arrives with star power
  50. ^ Shriver Gets Her Hands Dirty
  51. ^ Maria Shriver says edible garden will be planted in Capitol Park flower bed
  52. ^ Maria Owings Shriver Wed To Arnold Schwarzenegger
  53. ^ Mark Z. Barabak (May 9, 2011). "Arnold Schwarzenegger, Maria Shriver announce separation". Los Angeles Times.,0,2542211.story?track=rss. 
  54. ^ "Arnold Schwarzenegger and wife of 25 years, Maria Shriver, say they're separating". Washington Post. Associated Press. May 10, 2011. 
  55. ^ Dan Whitcomb (May 10, 2011). "Arnold Schwarzenegger, wife Maria Shriver separate". Reuters. 
  56. ^ Schwarzenegger fathered a child with longtime member of household staff May 17, 2011
  57. ^ "Arnold Schwarzenegger Fathered A Child With Member Of Household Staff". Huffington Post (USA). May. 
  58. ^ "How Maria found out: Arnie's wife reportedly confronted lover about child". Sydney Morning Herald. 
  59. ^ Maria Shriver Speaks Out: 'This Is a Painful and Heartbreaking Time' The Hollywood Reporter May 17, 2011
  60. ^ Topic Galleries -
  61. ^ Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Retrieved 7/4/2011
  62. ^ Ken Lee. "Maria Shriver Hires a Divorce Attorney". People.,,20495700,00.html. 
  63. ^ "Report: Maria Shriver Hires Private Eye to Investigate Arnold". The Insider. 
  64. ^ Schwarzenegger-Shriver Divorce: Settlement Decides Who Gets House, Kids
  65. ^ Arnie's son injured in 'scary' surfing accident | ABS-CBN News | Latest Philippine Headlines, Breaking News, Video, Analysis, Features
  66. ^ Rose named in honor of Maria Shriver
  67. ^ Shriver, Gore honored by TV academy
  68. ^ Shinnyo-en Foundation names UC Berkeley chancellor and Maria Shriver its 2009 'Pathfinders to Peace'
  69. ^ Maria Shriver receiving Shinnyo-en Foundation's Award at 2009 NCVS
  70. ^ "Maria Shriver - Dateline NBC". MSNBC. January 13, 2004. Retrieved March 23, 2011. 
  71. ^ Saint John's Health Center – The Maria Shriver Nursery
  72. ^ Access Hollywood[dead link]

External links

Honorary titles
Preceded by
Sharon Ryer Davis
First Lady of California
Succeeded by
Anne Gust Brown

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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