Born: Nov. 6, 1955
Birthplace: Chicago, Ill.
As the daughter of Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver, niece to John F., Robert, and Edward Kennedy, Maria grew up in the midst of politics. Tagging along on her father's unsuccessful 1972 vice presidential campaign, she gravitated more toward the press corps than the smoke-filled rooms. After graduating in 1977 from Georgetown with a degree in American Studies, she pursued a career as a television journalist. She began as a writer/producer, first at KYW-TV in Philadelphia, then at WJZ-TV in Baltimore. After a stint as a correspondent for PM Magazine, Shriver reported for CBS News in Los Angeles and became co-anchor for the CBS Morning News.
She joined NBC as a correspondent in 1986, on the newsmagazine 1986. She went on to host a news show for young people, Main Street, co-anchored the 1988 Summer Olympics, and did interviews for NBC News. First Person with Maria Shriver debuted in 1990. She joined then joined Dateline, where her hour-long documentary on welfare, “Checks and Balances,” earned a 1998 Peabody Award. Besides being a contributing anchor on Dateline, Shriver works as a contributing correspondent on MSNBC, and an NBC news correspondent.
Young Maria first met bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger at a Kennedy-hosted charity event in 1977. The couple married in Hyannis in 1986 amid extensive press coverage. Shriver has managed to support both her Republican husband and has herself remained true to her Democratic roots. She took a leave of absence from her job during her husband's 2003 campaign for California governor, but planned to return to NBC. She defended her husband when he was accused of sexual misconduct during the campaign. Schwarzenegger acknowledged his wife's important contributions to his election, and her role as unofficial adviser to the governor seems assured.