Marriott has always preferred forklifts to chilled forks. The son of Hank, 60, a Virginia Beach, Virginia, bank vice president, and Charlotte, 60, who manages a linen boutique, he graduated from high school in 1992 and modeled part-time while working as a hotel doorman in New York City.
At 22, when his money ran out, he returned to Virginia and began working at his godfather's construction firm. On the job "Evan grew long hair and wore flannel shirts with holes to blend in," says Charlotte. "He didn't want to be this pretty boy." After a stint acting in L.A. (he won a bit part in "Days of Our Lives" in 1999), he returned to construction and occasional modeling jobs.
At a 2001 Christmas party Marriott met a production staffer for "Joe" and landed the job within months. During the show's run he'll live in a FOX-funded home outside L.A. to escape the media onslaught. Marriott, who plans on returning to a hard-hat life, has no regrets about his stint in luxury's lap. But "at the end of the day," he says, "I'm just a bulldozer operator from Orange County."