Being born the oldest of four kids to a surgeon father, Marilyn Jones was raised in the tiny Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe. After graduating from high school in Michigan, Jones attended Miami University (Ohio) and eventually graduated from the University of Colorado with a humanities degree. After a stint in New York waiting on tables and working as an office clerk in-between acting jobs, she was signed with 30 other performers to Columbia Pictures’ Talent and Development Workshop and sent to Los Angeles. The program folded when the executive, who ran the studio at the time, resigned. Jones did manage to land an agent and began acting on episodic television. Her performances in Lou Grant and M*A*S*H were especially strong. She landed roles in two short-lived prime-time soaps, Secrets of Midland Heights and King’s Crossing for ABC.