Childhood & Early Life
He was born on July 23, 1972, in New York City, New York, US as the youngest child of supermarket manager Howell Stouten Wayans and homemaker and social worker Elvira Alethia (Green) among their ten children. His father was a devout Jehovah's Witness.
His nine siblings are Dwayne, Keenen Ivory, Damon, Kim, Elvira, Nadia, Diedre, Vonnie and Shawn, all of whom are associated with the entertainment industry. He grew up in the housing projects of New York City and attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Following high school studies, Marlon attended Howard University in Washington, D.C.
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He embarked into films as a teenager with the bit role of a pedestrian in the 1988 American action-comedy-parody film ‘I'm Gonna Git You Sucka’ that had his brother Keenen Ivory Wayans in starring role. It marked directorial debut of Keenen and also featured his siblings Damon, Kim, Nadia and Shawn.
Marlon had regular role in the American sketch comedy television series ‘In Living Color’ created, written and starred by his brother Keenen. It originally aired on Fox from April 15, 1990 to May 19, 1994 and also had his siblings Damon, Kim and Shawn in regular roles, while Dwayne featured frequently as an extra. The series garnered international attention and won several awards including the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series in 1990 thus gaining Marlon initial recognition.
After featuring in the TV series ‘The Best of Robert Townsend & His Partners in Crime’ in 1991, Marlon landed up with his first starring role of a conman Seymour Stewart in the July 24, 1992 released American crime-comedy film ‘Mo' Money’. His brother Damon played lead role in it and also contributed as its writer. The film debuted atop the US box office and garnered over $40 million at the North American box office.
Originally Marlon was considered for the role of Robin in the Tim Burton directed 1992 American superhero film ‘Batman Returns’ but the character was finally excluded. It was included in the 1995 sequel titled ‘Batman Forever’ and Marlon was formally signed for it, however following mid-production change in directors from Tim Burton to Joel Schumacher, Chris O'Donnell replaced Marlon for the role. Marlon nevertheless receives some royalty payments till present.
The WB aired American sitcom ‘The Wayans Bros.’ that was broadcast from January 11, 1995 to May 20, 1999 saw Marlon starring along with his brother Shawn. The series also featured artists like John Witherspoon and Anna Maria Horsford.
Marlon and Shawn then wrote and starred in the American crime-comedy-parody film ‘Don't Be a Menace’ that released on January 12, 1996. It was produced by their brother Keenen. The film opened at #2 at box-office and became a commercial hit grossing over $20 million but received negative critical reviews.
Moving on with other films and television roles, Marlon came out of his comfort zone of usual comedies and proved his acting prowess and versatility portraying Tyrone C. Love in the critically acclaimed American psychological drama film ‘Requiem for a Dream’. The film premiered at the Cannes Film Festival on May 14, 2000. It released theatrically in the US on October 27, 2000 before being premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13, that year.
His popularity touched new heights after he starred as Shorty Meeks in the July 7, 2000 released American horror-comedy film ‘Scary Movie’ and then in its sequel ‘Scary Movie 2’ that released on July 4, 2001. He co-starred and contributed as co-writer in the two movies along with his brother Shawn. Both the films were directed by his brother Keenen and emerged as blockbuster hits at box-office.
He hosted the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards along with Shawn and also performed a skit with Lars Ulrich in the event held on September 7, 2000, at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City.
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He starred along with Tom Hanks in the Joel and Ethan Coen directed American black comedy thriller film ‘The Ladykillers’. The film became a box-office success upon its release on March 26, 2004.
Moving on he wrote, produced and starred in two comedy films with Shawn namely ‘White Chicks’ (2004) and ‘Little Man’(2006), which were directed by Keenen. Both the films became sensational hits at box-office thus upping fame of Wayans brothers. The Wayans also produced a series of children's television specials titled ‘Thugaboo’ that was first broadcast on Nicktoons on August 11, 2006.
Marlon’s next notable film out of comedy genre was the American military-science-fiction-action film ‘G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra’ that released on August 7, 2009. He played the role of Wallace A. Weems/Ripcord in it and once again proved that he can pull off both comedic and serious roles with great élan. The film opened atop the box-office and grossed more than $302 million worldwide against a budget of $175 million.
He played the starring role of Malcolm Johnson in the January 11, 2013 released American parody-comedy-horror film ‘A Haunted House’ where he also contributed as writer and producer. The film was directed by Michael Tiddes. Although panned by critics, the film became a huge commercial success. He reprised the role in the film’s 2014 blockbuster hit sequel ‘A Haunted House 2’ apart from contributing as writer-producer.
American buddy cop action comedy film ‘The Heat’ saw him starring as Special Agent Levy sharing screen space with Sandra Bullock among others. It released in the US on June 28, 2013 and became a sensational hit at box-office apart from getting generally positive critical reviews.
He hosted the American reality television game show ‘Funniest Wins’ that aired on TBS from June 20, 2014 to August 15 that year.
He co-wrote, co-produced and also starred as Christian Black in the Michael Tiddes directed American comedy film ‘Fifty Shades of Black’ that released theatrically on January 29, 2016. A parody of American erotic-romantic-drama flick ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ (2015), the film grossed $22 million worldwide against a budget of $5 million.
He starred in his own sitcom, ‘Marlon’, an American comedy television series that premiered on NBC on August 16, 2017 and ran for ten episodes in the first season till September 13, 2017. The second season of the series was renewed by NBC that ran for another ten episodes from June 14, 2018 to July 12, 2018.