Bill Marlin was born in Big Spring, Texas, the son of an Air Force fighter pilot. Like most military brats, Bill moved frequently during his childhood, and Bill has lived in many parts of the country. When his father retired from military service, the family settled in a small town in Illinois. Bill received his B.A. degree from the University of Illinois in 1983. From his prior travels as a child, Bill knew he wanted to settle in Colorado, and he obtained his law degree from the University of Denver in 1986.