Norman graduated in 1964 with a M.A. in English Literature from the University of California.
After working for Leonard Stern, David Suskind and Daniel Melnick, Norman wrote several features and television projects, including the TV movie The Challenge and an episode of the Mission: Impossible TV series. Other screenwriting credits include the films Oklahoma Crude (which he would later adapt into a novel), The Killer Elite and The Aviator . In 1995, he was one of several writers hired to rewrite Cutthroat Island, at the behest of director Renny Harlin.
With Tom Stoppard, Norman won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in the 71st Academy Awards of 1998, for his script of Shakespeare in Love. The original idea was suggested to Norman in the late 1980s by his son Zachary. He also shared a Best Picture Oscar for the film as co-producer. British Bafta for their screenplay and a Silver Bear for an outstanding single writing achievement at the 49th Berlin International Film Festival. His latest original screenplay, Vivaldi, will be produced by Fox Searchlight in 2020.
Norman has written both fiction and non-fictions books. He wrote Bike Riding in Los Angeles. A Novel (New York: Dutton 1972); Oklahoma Crude (New York,Dutton 1973); Fools' Errand (New York, Norton, 1978), and What Happens Next?: A History of Hollywood Screenwriting (New York: Harmony Books 2007; UK: Aurum Press 2008).
- Avon Calling, Chicago Tribune http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1998-12-23/features/9812230314_1_romeo-and-ethel-shakespeare-marc-norman
- Peter Biskind, "Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance and the Rise of Independent Film" (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2004), p. 327.
- "Berlinale: 1999 Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 2012-02-04.