Maria Owings Shriver ( /ˈʃraɪvər/; born November 6, 1955) 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". 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).
Shriver was born in Chicago, Illinois. A Roman Catholic 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 received a bachelor of arts degree in American studies from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., in June 1977.
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.