Notable for serving as President and Chairman of his family's Neiman Marcus luxury department store, he is also remembered as a columnist for The Dallas Morning News. In addition, he penned a series of memoirs, including Minding the Store (1974) and Quest for the Best (1979).
After earning his bachelor's degree in English literature from Harvard University, he briefly attended Harvard Business School before returning to Texas to assist his family's business.
Both an amateur photographer and an art collector, he served on the board of the Georgia O'Keeffe museum and became Chairman of the Board of the Dallas Museum of Fine Art. In addition, he made major financial contributions to the Dallas Symphony and the Dallas Opera.
The son of Herbert Marcus and Minnie Lichtenstein Marcus, he was born in Dallas, Texas, to a prominent Jewish family. His first marriage, to Mary Cantrell, lasted until Cantrell's death in 1978 and produced children named Jerrie, Richard, and Wendy. For the last two decades of his life, he was married to librarian Linda Cumber Robinson.
He was the older brother of Lawrence Marcus (born 1917).