Born in Walsall, West Midlands, England, Marsden was raised primarily by his mother, Anne, after his father left the family when he was young. He attended Dartmouth High School, where he first became interested in the arts, joining a local marching jazz band as a drummer. After high school, his interest turned to acting and he soon joined the National Youth Theater, Britain's premiere youth theatre company. Marsden continued his studies at Middlesex University, where he first supported himself working in his uncle's Birmingham shoe shop, but soon found a more lucrative career as a model. After signing with the Models 1 agency, he became a highly sought after subject and was featured in a series of ads for Impulse Body Spray in the early 1990s, making him an instant celebrity in the U.K. He soon made the leap to acting career, making his film debut in "The Young Americans" (1993), a crime drama starring Harvey Keitel.Marsden made small appearances in various films and television shows over the next few years, including the long-running British soap opera, "Emmerdale" (ITV, 1972-). But he reached new heights in 1997 when he became a regular on another enduring daytime soap, "Coronation Street" (ITV, 1960-). As mechanic Chris Collins, Marsden starred in a nine-episode arc from 1997-98, which turned him into a bona fide star in England by the time his run ended. Not content to limit his options, the restless, multi-talented Marsden left acting for a spell after "Coronation Street" to pursue a music career. He signed to Columbia Records in 1998 and released a slew of singles; the first being "The Heart's Long Desire," which peaked at No. 13 on the UK pop charts. Unfortunately, his subsequent singles were less successful, leading him to abandon his fledgling music career not long after finishing his debut album, Say Who (1999). With his sights set on Hollywood, Marsden moved to Los Angeles and began immediately landing projects, making notable appearances in "Black Hawk Down" (2001), the two-part miniseries "Helen of Troy" (USA Network, 2003) and "Anacondas: The Hunt for the Blood Orchid" (2004). Following episodes of popular American programs like "CSI: Miami" (CBS, 2002-12), "NCIS" (CBS, 2003-) and "The Ghost Whisperer" (CBS, 2005-10), he had supporting roles in a pair of video game adaptations, "Resident Evil: Extinction" (2007) and "DOA: Dead or Alive" (2007). Marsden's first major breakthrough was in "Rambo" (2008), in which he played a mercenary who fights alongside the aging titular hero (Sylvester Stallone) in a battle against the Burmese army. The film helped established Marsden as a burgeoning action star, which he was more than prepared for, since he possessed a black belt in Tae Kwan Do, as well as also having had extensive training in boxing, skydiving and motorcycle racing. He next joined the cast of "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" (2009) as Graham, a member of the United Kingdom Special Forces. Originally the role was much smaller, but director Michael Bay was so impressed with Marsden's audition that he expanded the role, making the up-and-comer one of the $200 million dollar film's key players.