Marriott is the son of Alice Marriott and J. Willard Marriott, the founder of Marriott International. He attended St. Albans School in Washington, DC, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from the University of Utah, where he became a member of Sigma Chi. He served as an officer in the United States Navy. He is also an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
Marriott joined the Marriott Corporation in 1956, was elected Executive Vice President and member of the Board of Directors in January 1964 and president of the company in November 1964, Chief Executive Officer in 1972, and Chairman of the Board in 1985.
Marriott is actively involved in various boards and councils including, the U.S. Travel and Tourism Promotional Advisory Board, the executive committee of the World Travel & Tourism Council, the National Business Council, the board of trustees of the National Urban League, a director of the National Geographic Society, and a director of the Naval Academy Endowment Trust. He serves as chairman of the President’s Export Council, a group that advises the President on matters relating to export trade, and serves as chairman of the Leadership Council of the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries.
JW Marriott Jr. is a 2006 nominee for the Hotel Travel Personality of the Year award from World Travel Awards.