Last week’s trivia, in honor of Father’s Day, revealed that Christopher and Thomas Dodd hold the record for most appearances on Meet the Press by a father and son. But there are also many fathers and daughters who have been MTP guests. The distinguished list includes Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto, Moon and Mary Landrieu, and Billy Graham and Anne Graham Lotz, among others. The father/daughter pair with the most combined appearances comes from one of the country’s most famous families: the Shrivers. Sargent Shriver had 10 appearances throughout his long career as the Founder and Director of the Peace Corps and Democratic politician, while his daughter Maria, a journalist, best-selling author and the former first lady of California, has been a Meet the Press guest four times so far.
Sargent Shriver visited Meet the Press over the course of fourteen years, starting in his first year as Peace Corps Director, and ending in 1975, as he was running for the Democratic presidential nomination. During many of his appearances the MTP panel, particularly moderator Lawrence Spivak, pressed Shriver on his brother-in-law, President John F. Kennedy – either to get an inside look at the president’s thinking, or to ask whether the Peace Corps and Shriver himself got so much attention because of his famous connections. Shriver was more than happy to engage and push back on the panel’s questions, and his presence often led to a lively program. But in the final minutes of his last Meet the Press show, in September of 1975, Shriver grew reflective about his family, and the John F. Kennedy legacy. Watch the video below to see what he said.
In a commencement speech years later, in 1994, Sargent Shriver spoke about his own legacy, saying “I am a man of consequence, the Sargent Shriver known everywhere as Maria Shriver’s father.” David Gregory read his words to Maria Shriver on her most recent Meet the Press appearance in May of this year. Shriver agreed with the rest of her father’s advice to graduates, but indicated she was carving her own path: “I think that’s very valuable advice and it could be given by somebody like my father who was a very deeply religious, deeply spiritual man. But I find more and more people that I talk to are redefining what success means in their lives and they are going within to ask those questions.” You can watch clips from Sargent Shriver’s 1975 appearance, and his daughter’s 2012 thoughts in the video below. And check back this week for a PRESS Pass interview with Sargent’s son Mark Shriver, on his new biography of his father, “A Good Man.”