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The 110,000 motorists estimated daily to pass by the two-story, mostly glass buildingnear 106th Street and Interstate 69, likely had little clue of what went on inside the building with the orange windsock on the lawn — that is until recently.

Since November, huge photo graphics of James Dean, Amelia Earhart, Bettie Page, and Jackie Robinson hanging from the building hinted at the focus of the business tucked away in Fishers. It was the first outward signs that CMG Worldwide which represents about 250 celebrities — and a hidden gem of a museum open to the public — is stepping up its visibility.

For most of the company's existence, chairman and CEO Mark Roesler said in a telephone interview from Hong Kong, he deliberately kept CMG's profile low, simply foregoing signage or other symbols that would alert passersby to the business.

But last year, he decided it was time — in the Internet age that allows instant transmission of images and because of the visual nature of much of his business — to, well, be visible.

He enlisted Indianapolis-based Sport Graphics — the local company that, among other things, splashed the Super Bowl XLVI logo and the image of the Lombardi Trophy onto the giant downtown JW Marriott Hotel — to create CMG's exteriors.

The building, Roesler said, was "a perfect venue to display some of our clients." CMG has been in the building, designed by Indianapolis architect Gary Nancy, since 1999.

Most of CMG's clients are deceased. Roesler said he discovered in the early 1980s, that protecting the interests of deceased celebrities on behalf of family and heirs was an area of law that needed to be defined and defended.

His first two clients were Indiana's own James Dean and icon Elvis Presley. In the early 1990s, the company began representing the Marilyn Monroe estate. A legal battle with the Warner Bros. studio successfully established that the families of famous celebrities, not the studios, retained the rights to market the stars who appeared in films and signed standard Screen Actors Guild contracts.

"The contracts in the 30s, 40s & 50s, obviously were silent on that issue, because it had not been anticipated that anyone would want to market those personalities after they died," Roesler said in an email. "The Court decided in our favor saying that the Studio did not have the rights to the names and likenesses of those celebrities that had appeared in their films and had signed the SAG contracts."

Since those early days, CMG's business has burgeoned, but other companies also have gotten into the field of protecting deceased icon's intellectual property rights. Elvis Presley's estate, for instance, now handles all of his dealings.

But CMG's "stable" includes stars as luminous and varied as pinup icon Page; Jim Thorpe, considered by many to be the greatest athlete of all time; Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde; queen of jazz Ella Fitzgerald; baseball greats including Harmon Killebrew and the still-living Jim Palmer; and an eclectic mix of others including Dale Earnhart Sr., Gen. George S. Patton and Charles Manson family victim and actress Sharon Tate.

Roesler, a native of Alexandria, received his undergraduate degree from DePauw University in Greencastle and his MBA and law degrees from Indiana University. His business is global — evidenced by his current Asia trip that includes Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore —and CMG also has a smaller office in Hollywood.

He has a house in Beverly Hills, but last week was fretting about whether the pipes in his Geist home had burst and how employees here were faring during the polar vortex deep freeze.

"It's important for me to call Indianapolis our home," he said. The nature of the business means a presence in LA makes sense, but technology also allows much of his business to be conducted from anywhere — so he chooses his home.

About 26 employees work at the Fishers headquarters and about 20 work in Los Angeles.

And if the company has been a bit anonymous, so has the museum inside that is chock-full of artifacts, clothing, posters, advertising and other items connected to the stars. Some are originals, some are reproductions and some are more recently designed consumer items inspired by the celebrities.

CMG Worldwide in Fishers has decided to become more visible

Museum displays are changed and rearranged, and include items on loan from studios and estates CMG doesn't represent. In addition to the second-floor museum, the building's lobby and seemingly every wall of every office features artwork and displays. There's a pair of spike heels actually worn by Marilyn Monroe, with the scuff marks to prove it; a such as a distinctive, white floofy top worn by Michael Jackson; and Don McLean's handwritten lyrics to "American Pie."

Many in the area might not know the museum and exhibits exist, but some fourth-grade teachers do: Hoosier fourth-graders have to study or do a report on a native of Indiana, and classes regularly tour the museum for information on the likes of James Dean, said Megan Reinholt, CMG associate for business and marketing.

In addition, senior citizen groups arrange for group tours and families often show up during holiday breaks, she said. But individuals are welcome during regular business hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. There is no charge.

Roesler said he also plans to make the museum and even bigger attraction, with a redesign and expansion this spring. A grand opening likely will coincide with a charity event, he said, but details are still unfolding.

Roesler, who last year received the distinguished alumni award by the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law and who is a member of IU's Kelley School of Business Hall of Fame, is proud of those achievements — but offers up a simpler tie to the area he continues to call home.

"I've always lived in Indiana," he said. "I love being on the lake in the summer."

Call Star reporter Diana Penner ?at (317) 444-6249 and follow her on Twitter @dianapenner.

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