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Mark Roesler (born October 31, 1955) is an American intellectual property rights lawyer and business entrepreneur. He is the chairman, CEO and founder of CMG Worldwide, a marketing and management firm that is the business agent for over 200 of the world's most recognizable celebrities, including Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and Babe Ruth. He was the long-time friend and business agent of former pin-up Bettie Page. Roesler is a recognized authority on the intellectual property rights of celebrities.
Roesler was born in Alexandria, Indiana. He graduated as valedictorian from Alexandria Monroe High School in 1974, and went on to DePauw University. While in college, Roesler started his own roofing company to finance his education. After completing his undergraduate studies, Roesler earned a joint J.D. and M.B.A. through the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and Kelley School of Business in 1981. During this time, he also became a licensed real estate broker.
After graduating in 1981, Roesler joined The Curtis Publishing Company, the long-time publisher of The Saturday Evening Post and copyright owner of most of Norman Rockwell’s artwork. Roesler was brought in to help license the copyrights to the deceased artist’s work. While working with The Curtis Publishing Company, Roesler realized that the families of deceased celebrities were unable to protect their famous relative’s intellectual property rights.
Roesler started CMG Worldwide with the purpose of protecting the rights of famous deceased people, as well as generating income for their estates by marketing their names and likenesses. His first two clients were the estates of Elvis Presley and James Dean. Today, the client list has grown to over 250 deceased and living personalities. CMG Worldwide also lobbies for the creation of special laws that will protect the image or likeness of famous personalities. Roesler has represented the estates of many celebrities in high-profile legal battles. He has been called upon many times to provide expert witness testimonies pertaining to the net worths of celebrities. CMG Worldwide is headquartered in Indianapolis, and has offices in Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro.
In the early 1990s, Roesler represented the family of James Dean in a court battle with Warner Bros.. The entertainment conglomerate claimed ownership of the lucrative merchandising and endorsement rights to Dean, because he had been under contract with the company when he died. In 1992, the courts awarded the rights to Dean’s family.
In 1993, Roesler represented Betty Shabazz, the widow of Malcolm X, in a legal battle against Malcolm X director Spike Lee. He argued that Shabazz controlled the rights to the “X” used in association with her husband and Lee was forced to pay Shabazz a licensing fee.
During the 1997 O.J. Simpson civil trial, Roesler calculated Simpson’s future net worth as $25 million, which the jury kept as an accurate assessment. The families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were awarded that exact amount at the end of the trial.
In 2008, Roesler was awarded the Distinguished Entrepreneur Award by the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.
Roesler is often called to speak on the topics of business and intellectual property law. On May 10, 2009, he gave the commencement address at the Indiana University Kelley Graduate School of Business.