Sarah Connor was born in 1965. She was born to a waitress mother and a veteran father. As a child, her father walked out on her and her mother. Sarah Connor lived a normal life when growing up. At the age of 19, she worked as a teenage waitress at Big Jeff's family restaurant and shared a two-story apartment in the Palm District with her roommate Ginger Ventura while studying at college. But everything Sarah had ever known was to change that year in 1984. By the events of The Terminator, Sarah finds herself pursued by a relentless cyborg killer, the Terminator; a Series 800 Model 101 Infiltrator unit (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger), for reasons completely unknown to her.
She is rescued from the Terminator by time-traveling soldier Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), who explains that in the future, an artificial intelligence called Skynet will be created by military software developers to make strategic decisions. The program becomes self-aware, seizes control of most of the world's military hardware (including various highly-advanced robots), and launches an all-out attack on human beings. However, a man named John Connor eventually leads the human resistance group Tech-Com to victory, only to discover that in a last-ditch effort, Skynet had researched time travel and sent a robotic killer back in time in an effort to destroy John Connor's family before he can be born. John Connor is Sarah's future son, and Connor sends back a trusted sergeant (Reese - who, unbeknownst to Reese, is John's father) to protect his mother at all costs. During their brief time together, Sarah falls in love with Reese. Reese becomes the only thing protecting her from the Terminator, and her only companion as they flee together.
The Terminator kills a number of people in order to get to Sarah Connor, including her mother. Initially, she is unaware that Reese himself had been in love with her from afar, having been given a picture of her by John Connor, and having always admired her legendary strength and resilience. They share a night of intimacy that results in the conception of John. Their relationship is cut short when Reese dies fighting the Terminator in a Cyberdyne factory; Sarah in turn crushes the Terminator in a hydraulic press.
Though Reese's death deeply saddens her, his sincerity and courage inspires Sarah to carry on and develop the necessary skills and abilities that would make her a suitable mentor and teacher to John.
Going into hiding, Sarah gave birth to John on 28 February 1985, and immediately entered into a semi-criminal lifestyle, beginning his training and learning from whoever would teach them. The two lived as nomads, spending a lot of time in South and Central America. It was not until she attempted to blow up the local offices of some computer corporation, getting herself caught by the police that she was seen again by the authorities. Upon trying to warn of the impending Judgment Day, Sarah was handed over to the custody of Dr. Peter Silberman at the Pescadero State Hospital for the Criminally Insane, a prison facility that cares and imprisons people with mental problems. She was diagnosed with acute schizo-affective disorder and institutionalized, her son John being put into foster care.
When Sarah was 29 years old, another Terminator, this time a T-1000, was sent back to eliminate Sarah's 10-year-old son John. Sarah broke out of her cell and killed Douglas' by breaking his neck with a broom handle. She then knocked out another staff member and broke Dr Silberman's arm, and threatening to poison him to get the other staff to release her by unlocking the security doors. However, a back-up member released Silberman and Sarah escaped to the elevators, while the staff desperately chased her all the way.
She waited for an elevator, one was coming up and Sarah quickly ran to the door. However, just then the second T-800 exited the elevator. Sarah knew it was a Terminator and ran in absolute fear as she believes the Terminator was there for the same reason as the T-800 back in 1984 — to kill her and John. Just as she ran back down the corridor, John exited the elevator and run after her. The staff tripped her up and restrained Sarah while Dr Silberman goes to poison her with the syringe that she tried to poison him. But before they could kill her, the T-800 hoisted, threw and knocked them all unconscious, including one who got stabbed by a shard of glass when he was thrown at a door window.
With the help of her son, and the reprogrammed 800 series Terminator sent back in time to protect him, Sarah broke out of Pescadero. Sarah, John, and the T-800 went towards Mexico, meeting up with Sarah's gun-running friend Enrique Salceda and his family. Enrique had been taking care of an underground bunker filled with Sarah's weapons. Trying to prevent Judgment Day, Sarah found out about Skynet's construction by Miles Dyson, and set out to kill him. Although she found herself unable to eliminate him in cold blood, she helped convince Dyson to stop work on Skynet and destroy all his files and the Cyberdyne Systems building. Upon the destruction of Cyberdyne (resulting in Dyson's death) and both Terminators, Sarah took John back into hiding, training him to become a great military leader and tactician.
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines
Three years later, after training John in the ways of warfare and leadership, and ensuring that Judgment Day did not take place on its original date, Sarah Connor finally died in 1997 from Leukemia (presumably, she died on August 29), three years after her initial diagnosis in Baja. (Although one interpretation of the timeline would suggest that this means she would have been aware of her condition at the time of T2.) She was cremated in Mexico, and her friends scattered her ashes into the sea. Never believing that they had truly won even at the end, she had her friends store weapons in a coffin in a mausoleum in the Valley of Peace cemetery.
- Sarah Connor will meet Thomas, Twilight, Brian, and their friends in Thomas and Twilight Sparkle's Adventures of The Terminator and sees them again in Thomas and Twilight Sparkle's Adventures of Terminator 2: Judgment Day.