Name apparently first brought to public attention by the American actor Marlon Brando (1924–2004). The name was borne also by his father. It is of uncertain origin, possibly derived from Marc with the addition of the French diminutive suffix -lon (originally a combination of two separate suffixes, -el and -on). The actor's family was partly of French extraction.
English (very common in England, especially in the south Midlands, and in Wales) and German (especially northwestern Germany): patronymic from the personal name Adam. In the U.S. this form has absorbed many patronymics and other derivatives of Adam in languages other than English. (For forms, see Hanks and Hodges 1988.)