Born in Athens, Alabama, Marlow moved to Troy at an early age. He played high school football at Troy High School before playing college football for the University of Alabama from 1950 to 1952. In 1950, Marlow's first season with the Crimson Tide, he had 118 rushing attempts, gaining 882 yards for an average of 7.5 per carry, and scored 9 touchdowns. His number of touchdowns doubled to 12 in 1951, as he rushed for 728 yards in 114 carries. In that year's Iron Bowl against Auburn, Marlow had 233 rushing yards, breaking the team record; his mark was not bested until 1987. In 1952, he was named to the All-America Team, after running for 950 yards in 176 attempts and scoring 10 touchdowns. In Marlow's Crimson Tide career, the team had a win–loss record of 24–10 and won the 1953 Orange Bowl. At the end of his college career, Marlow had a school-record 2,560 rushing yards. The record lasted until 1971, and he remains among the top 10 in career rushing yards at Alabama.
The New York Giants selected Marlow with the eighth overall pick in the first round of the 1953 NFL Draft. However, he did not play in the NFL, and instead signed to play in the CFL. The Roughriders ultimately signed Marlow. In his career with the Roughriders, he scored 34 touchdowns and had 4,291 rushing yards in 833 attempts. Marlow spent eight seasons in Canada, and later lived in Elkmont, Alabama and Houston, Texas. In 1985, Marlow suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 55. Marlow was named a member of the CFL's All Star All-Time Team.
- "Bobby Marlow". Limestone County Sports Hall of Fame. Retrieved July 29, 2014.
- "Fame was fleeting, but Marlow was one of the best". Troy Messenger. February 20, 2002. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
- "Bobby Marlow". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 3, 2014.
- "1953 NFL Draft". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- "Bobby Marlow Signs With Rough Riders". Kentucky New Era. Associated Press. March 30, 1953. Retrieved July 31, 2014.
- "All-Time Leaders in Saskatchewan Roughrider History" (PDF). Saskatchewan Roughriders. pp. 4–6. Retrieved August 1, 2014.