Born in 1972 in New York City, Marlon graduated from the School of Performing Arts in New York before moving on to study film and arts at Howard University. Following the lead of eldest clan member and brother Keenen Ivory Wayans, Marlon was inspired to pursue a career in show business. After taking a small role in brother Keenen’s blaxploitation spoof I’m Gonna Git You Sucka! (1988), Marlon joined the cast of Keenen’s groundbreaking and trend-setting hip-hop variety show, In Living Color. A natural knack for comedy found Marlon quickly gaining momentum among the cast and refining the skills that would eventually lead him to bigger roles in both film and television. With his role in brother Damon’s con-artist, comedy Mo’ Money, Marlon continued to display his talents for comedy with more substantial roles. Teaming with brother Shawn for television’s The Wayans Bros. (1995), Marlon began to expand his responsibilities. Taking on numerous roles — from writer to director and, of course, star — Marlon learned the virtues of multi-tasking that would lead him to become a key creative force behind such spoofs as Don’t Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996) and Scary Movie (2000).
Though Marlon got deadly serious for his role as Jared_Leto’s drug-addicted friend on a collision course with disaster in Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream, he continued to display his exceptional gift for comedy by hosting the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards with brother Shawn, and developing the follow-up to his runaway hit Scary Movie.
Perhaps sensing the need to return to his roots for a fresh success, Marlon spent 2004 and 2006 in two family vehicles: the raunchy comedies White Chicks and Little Man, respectively In the former, he and brother Shawn play African American federal agents who go undercover as blonde Caucasian sorority girls to bust a kidnapping scheme. This film climbed the charts to become a top weekend and summer grosser. Little Man, directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans and released in July 2006, uses trick photography and sight gags to turn Marlon into the dwarfish thief Calvin Simms, who attempts to retrieve a fenced jewel by posing as an infant and hiding out in the home of aspiring parents.