One of the Hollywood's most successful producers, Marshall has been associated with an impressive percentage of the highest grossing American films. In 1984, with his wife Kathleen Kennedy and Steven Spielberg, he co-founded Amblin Entertainment, one of the industry's most productive and profitable production companies. Marshall's first producer credit was on "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) which marked his first collaborations with George Lucas, Spielberg and Kennedy. He went on to executive produce the sequels "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984) and "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade" (1989) with Lucas. Marshall also served as executive producer with Kennedy and Spielberg on the popular "Back to the Future" series (1985, 1989, and 1990). These are just a select few of his many many hits made in collaboration with such diverse filmmakers as Robert Zemeckis, Joe Dante and Martin Scorsese.
Marshall has also proven himself adept as a director of large-scale entertainment features beginning with the comedy-thriller "Arachnophobia" (1990), a pleasantly old-fashioned yarn about poisonous spiders on the loose in suburbia. Though this was his feature directorial debut, Marshall's extensive experience with globe-trotting, high-tech spectacles made him impressively comfortable with the rigors of location shooting and special effects. He had previously served as 2nd unit director on such features as "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (1988), "Back to the Future", "Always" (1989) and the second and third Indiana Jones films. Marshall has also directed TV commercials for McDonald's and Diet Coke featuring Roger Rabbit as well as the live-action sequences of two "Maroon Cartoon" shorts, "Tummy Trouble" (1989) and "Roller Coaster Rabbit" (1990).
Marshall entered the business as a protege of Peter Bogdanovich whom he met at a birthday party for the daughter of director John Ford, a Marshall family friend. At the time, Bogdanovich was a critic writing a book on the old master. He invited Marshall, then an undergrad at UCLA, to work on his feature directorial debut, "Targets" (1968). Marshall received his introduction to film production working at various tasks including building and decorating sets, making sandwiches and even appearing in a bit part. After traveling through Europe post-graduation, he returned stateside to Wichita Falls, Texas as location manager on Bogdanovich's signature film, "The Last Picture Show" (1971). He would work on five more of the writer-director's films in as many years, first as a location manager and subsequently as an associate producer. Marshall went on to become a line producer on projects directed by Orson Welles (the abortive "The Other Side of the Wind"), Scorsese (the 1978 rock documentary "The Last Waltz") and Walter Hill ("The Driver" 1978). He also executive produced Hill's "The Warriors" 1979) before teaming up with Spielberg & Co.
Marshall has also worked in TV, primarily as an executive producer of numerous "Making of..." specials about his high-profile Spielberg projects. He served as production executive on the animated spin-off series, "Back to the Future" (CBS, 1991) and "Fieval's American Tails" (CBS, 1992) as well the short-lived Spielberg/Tim Burton cartoon collaboration, "Family Dog" (CBS, 1993). Marshall made his TV directing debut on "Johnny Bago" (CBS, 1993), a wonderfully wacky spoof of "The Fugitive" and the like, which he executive produced with Robert Zemeckis.
Marshall departed Amblin in 1991 and formed The Kennedy/Marshall Company with his partner the following year. He embarked upon his second directorial outing, "Alive" (1993), a joint production of Paramount and Touchstone about a South American rugby team forced to resort to extreme measures to survive after a spectacularly shot plane crash in the Andes. Marshall transformed a potentially unsavory subject into an inspirational and tasteful film that went down surprisingly well with audiences. He again demonstrated his comfort with special effects and a flair for bold adventure as the helmer of "Congo" (1995), a high-tech jungle adventure adapted from Michael Crichton's novel.
While Kennedy remained active producing films for much of the rest of the 90s, Marshall took a four-year hiatus. In 1999, he and Kennedy collaborated on two underperforming literary adaptations, "A Map of the World" and "Snow Falling on Cedars", both of which were overshadowed by glitzier fare in their quest for Oscar consideration. The Academy, however, smiled on the husband-and-wife partners as producers of the surprise box-office hit "The Sixth Sense" (1999), blessing it with six nominations including one for Best Picture.