Template:Infobox character Marcus St. James[1] is a fictional character in the American comedy-drama series Ugly Betty. He is played by Michael Urie. Marc's character is equivalent to Hugo Lombardi in the Colombian telenovela Yo soy Betty, la fea, on which Ugly Betty is based.


Marc, who hails from Schenectady, New York, is the openly gay and effeminate personal assistant of Wilhelmina Slater, the creative editor at MODE magazine. He is very loyal to Wilhelmina and so far he will do whatever it will take to help his boss succeed in her goal to become the magazine's editor by conspiring with both his boss and magazine receptionist Amanda Sommers to sabotage the two people responsible for costing Wilhelmina the top job, and in particular, ruin the 'beauty' of the magazine's workplace: Daniel Meade and Betty Suarez, respectively. Despite his attempts at scheming and his efforts to derail the two, Marc usually fails, at times finding himself at the mercy of his boss' wrath.

Personal lifeEdit

Although he has made no secret that he is gay, references to his sexuality were coy in the first season. He usually behaves in a stereotpically flamboyant manner and uses puns and inside jokes on such terms as "flaming" and "out." Before coming out to his mother, he has long claimed to have a girlfriend who lives in Canada.[2] Marc has mentioned using Amanda as a beard for three years, including family holiday dinners.

In Season Two, Marc has begun dating Cliff, a photographer whose scruffy appearance is at once charming and distressing to the fashion-conscious Marc. The pair's first public date venture into Marc's "world" was at Wilhelmina's wedding to Bradford Meade.

When Marc's mother, played by Patti LuPone, came to visit him for a cat show, Marc uses Betty as a fake girlfriend to cover up his sexuality. However, when she derides the craziness of the Suarez family, Marc, surprisingly (given his history of snideness with Betty), stands up for Betty and her family. He eventually comes out to her, but she rejects him and leaves for home.[3][4]

Marc has become a mentor for Betty's nephew Justin while he is interning at MODE. In the first season, Marc advised the effeminate and well-dressed Justin to "be who you are... and learn to run fast." Marc's best friend seems to be Amanda; the two share spiteful fun in teasing Betty, but we have also seen glimpses of genuine friendship. Marc supported Amanda during her secret relationship with a straight designer who publicly pretended to be gay to help his career in the fashion industry. In Season Two, he has been assisting Amanda in searching for her birth father after she told him about Fey Sommers being her biological mother. He has informally acted as a sort of agent for Amanda as she tries to capitalize on the 15 minutes of fame that being Fey's love child gives her. When Amanda forced Marc into burning a set of missing diary pages her mother wrote that detailed Fey's own demise at the hands of Claire Meade after Fey concocted a poisoned perfume that was intended to kill Claire instead, Marc brought Amanda back to reality, saying that he would not resort to Amanda's level and convinced Amanda to hand over the letters and the perfume to Betty at Claire's trial, resulting in Claire being set free.


At work, Marc fulfills a variety of tasks for Wilhelmina, notably including abetting her schemes to take over MODE and, in the second season, Meade Publications. When he balks, she threatens him. On occasion, she promised to replace him with some other "curly-haired, effete sycophant," five of whom she claims to have on speed dial. Among the assignments Marc has fulfilled for Wilhelmina are hitting her so she could claim a jealous Claire Meade had her beaten. Wilhelmina claims to have no personal regard for Marc, on one occasion trading him to the cosmetics mogul Fabia so that Fabia would move her own wedding date, leaving June clear for Wilhelmina But seeing Marc as one of Fabia's maltreated boy toys brought out a strain of carefully concealed remorse in Wilhelmina, and she conceded the coveted June wedding to Fabia in order to get Marc back.

Marc was also one of the first people to know about Fey Sommers' rediscovered "Love Dungeon" adjoining the "Closet." Only three others in the office know about the secret retreat as of the second-season episode "It's a Nice Day for a Posh Wedding": Amanda, Christina and Betty. Henry would be the fourth person who would find out in "I See Me, I.C.U."

Other traits and interestsEdit

  • He suffers from asthma attacks whenever there is a crisis. He also carries around with him a sparkled-designed inhaler.
  • At home he has a pet named Schmoopy, but there is no description on what type of species this animal is.
  • When he is not around doing Wilhelmina's bidding, he makes extra money from tipping off the low priced mall retail chain Eternal 18 (a parody of Forever 21) by spying on what will be the latest must-have items during Fashion Week.
  • He became an ordained minister via an internet course.
  • His favorite band is N*Sync and his favorite musical is "High School Musical".


  • Cliff St. Paul - Photographer and film buff, this un-trendy 'nice guy' is just what Marc's been looking for in a serious relationship. Although their relationship starts out a little rough as Marc cancels their date to go out with an underwear model, Marc eventually chooses Cliff over the model. The two are seen in the fifth episode of the second season watching Psycho together and holding hands. Marc's new love interest may help him turn over a new leaf.
  • Wilhelmina Slater - Creative Editor at MODE; Wilhelmina will usually confidently hand out orders to Marc, especially when it comes dealing with Daniel and Betty. When Marc accidentally stumbles onto Wilhelmina's plans to take over Meade Publications, he turns that around by forcing Wilhelmina into buying his silence with financial security and a new Hummer H2 in order to keep her secret from leaking out. In a brief moment of resigned camaraderie with Christina, however, Marc hinted that Wilhelmina's underhanded methods had worn him down over time also one of his best friends.
  • Betty Suarez - Assistant to the Editor at MODE; He constantly mocks Betty (he has captured her screwups on cellphone and then proclaims "I think I just found my new screensaver!" after downloading it, and even dressed up as her for Halloween in which he almost got a raise from Wilhelmina, who then quickly changed her mind after saying that she can barely stand seeing the "real" one), as long as he doesn't endure Betty's wrath since she has threatened him with a Queens-style beating. She has also threatened Marc that she'll expose his personal web page (that contains revealing images of himself) after she saw his screensaver shrine to Betty and her mishaps; he deleted them immediately. Betty even once duped Marc into owing her a favor by giving him the coveted Gucci bag he wanted from the MODE closet. It actually turned out to be a knock-off and Marc wouldn't have admitted it was fake because it would have meant Betty tricked him. Recently, however, he hinted that he likes Betty more than he lets on, telling her "you'll always be my little chimichanga."
  • Justin Suarez - Betty's nephew; When Justin came to her workplace Marc seemed to like Justin, even giving him advice on dealing with bullies and complimenting him on his outfits. He also made Justin feel better about his father's death. However when pretending to date Betty he couldn't remember who Justin was, and mistakenly thought he was Betty's son, of which Justin has to correct him several times.
  • Amanda Sommers - Receptionist at MODE; a loyal ally; they share a dislike for Betty and enjoy humiliating her. In one episode Marc and Amanda were willing to work with Betty in an attempt to keep their jobs, even at the cost of lying to Wilhelmina, which got worse after he and Amanda make a prank call to the mystery woman while they were in Wilhelmina's office, but he used that to his advantage by telling Amanda that it will cost her after Wilhelmina saw her text message that pinned him as the culprit. In "Don't Ask Don't Tell" it was revealed that Marc has pretended in the past that Amanda was his girlfriend in order to fool his mother when she visited him. Marc later told his mother he had broken up with Amanda because of her sex and drug addictions.
  • Christina McKinney - Seamstress at MODE; Christina has a love-hate rivalry with Marc, with whom she constantly bickers, mostly because of her work. In the tenth episode she told "Santa Claus" that she wishes that Marc had "...Courage" because she knows how cowardly Marc is, especially concerning Wilhelmina. They formed a friendly truce during the fifteenth episode ("Derailed") when Christina needed help in designing an Oscar-worthy dress in one night, only to have the opportunity destroyed by a manipulative Wilhelmina.
  • Alexis Meade - Co-Editor-In-Chief at MODE; It turned out that when Alexis was Alex, Marc had a crush on him before Daniel's brother changed genders. He lost interest after Alexis' return. This revealation was featured in a deleted scene from the Season 1 DVD.
  • Henry Grubstick - Accountant at Meade Publications; Along with Amanda, Marc likes to torture him, especially when it involves Betty or when they demand their long as they don't endure his wrath (as they did in "Betty's Wait Problem").

Critical responseEdit

Slate magazine named the character as one of the reasons they were looking forward to the return of the show in fall 2007.[5]


  1. In "Fake Plastic Snow" Marc's last name, St. James, was mentioned for the first time. In "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" his mother's last name was Weiner. In a deleted scene from "Don't Ask," Betty asks Marc "Your real [last] name is Weiner?" Marc answers, "I had to change it. A gay kid named Weiner? I wanted to beat myself up."
  2. this, along with the popular song from "Avenue Q" refer to the popular joke that gay men will often create a fictional girlfriend, located in a distant place, usually Canada, therefore making her existence difficult to disprove and in theory concealing their true sexuality. However, due to the common knowledge of the practice, having "a girlfriend who lives in Canada" has become a shorthand signaling of closeted homosexuality.
  3. The idea for Marc to come out to his mother was both Urie and co-star America Ferrera's idea.
  4. From E! online (May 1, 2007)
  5. Patterson, Troy (21). Oh, How We've Missed You!. Slate magazine. Retrieved on 2007-09-23.

Template:Ugly Bettyfr:Marc St. James

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