Those of you who grew up here in Washington as I did will certainly recognize that name — the odd, effeminate, and witty arts reviewer for local television died yesterday. Marlin-Jones always entertained with his film reviews, and to this day I remember his shtick of ripping off pieces of an index card to indicate which parts of the film he’d keep and which he’d throw out.
Davey Marlin-Jones, 71, of Las Vegas, born May 8, 1932, in Winchester, Indiana, passed away quietly at home on Tuesday, March 2, 2004. When he was 13, his father, Marlin Jones, gave him a magic set. Davey was found to be a natural performer. He was a graduate of Antioch College. He spent his life working in the professional theatre, wearing the many hats of magician, actor, playwright, producer, critic, and director. For the last fifteen years, he was a professor of theatre and playwriting at the University of Nevada, at Las Vegas (UNLV). Prior to moving to Las Vegas, Mr. Marlin-Jones lived in Washington, DC and was arts critic for CBS affiliate WTOP/WDVM/WUSA, Channel 9, from 1970 to 1987 and also for NBC affiliate Post/Newsweek Television, WDIV, in Detroit from 1979 to 1987. His lively reviews of movies and plays were performances in themselves. His stated philosophy was that, “If a critic is really doing his job, he can show you that there is a whole rich world (of the performing arts) out there that you can enjoy; he can explain the production elements that made for a good time, and if you’re not having a good time, he can explain why and hopefully it helps and hopefully you can make better choices in what you see and have a better time.” He was director of numerous productions in theatres across the country. He was the artistic director of Cincinnati Playhouse In The Park and the Washington Theatre Club, managing director of the Equity Library Theatre in New York City, as well as a guest director at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, in Washington DC, the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Public Theatre, the Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, the Folger Theatre, the St. Louis Repertory Theatre, the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival and the Organic Theatre, in Chicago, among others. Davey Marlin-Jones directed the film adaptation of Lanford Wilson’s “The Rimers of Eldritch” and the Emmy Award winning series “The Greatest Earth on Show;” was the author of nine plays, guest lecturer for the International Brotherhood of Magicians, and a keynote speaker for the World Magic Summit. Davey Marlin-Jones was a member of the American Federation of Television & Radio Artists, Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers, Directors’ Guild of America and Actors’ Equity Association and the recipient of numerous prestigious awards that include the Margo Jones Award for Advancing the American Playwright, UNLV’s College of Fine and Performing Arts “Outstanding Teacher of the Year,” the American College Theatre Festival’s “Outstanding Theatre Educator,” and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. Davey Marlin-Jones is survived by his wife, Maggie Winn-Jones, two sons, Andrew Jones and Oliver Jones, two grandchildren and a sister. Davey requested that memorial gifts be made to the donor’s local theatre or arts organizations. Family and friends will gather for a celebration of the life and work of Davey Marlin-Jones at a future date.