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Corbis buys famous faces

Images include Mae West, Marx Bros., Albert Einstein

Celebrity representation house Roger Richman Agency has been acquired by photography and rights management shingle Corbis.

Launched in 1978, RRA reps images of more than 50 of the world’s most-recognized personalities, including Mae West, Steve McQueen, the Marx Brothers, Albert Einstein, the Wright Brothers and Isaac Asimov. Their images are licensed to corporations, advertising agencies and other companies.

All five RRA employees will remain on staff, with founder Richman under a one-year consulting contract. “He’s a pioneer in this area, and we really value his expertise,” said Gary Shenk, Corbis senior VP of editorial image licensing and rights services.

Founded by Bill Gates in 1989, Corbis holds rights to some 70 million images, 4 million of which are available online. Corbis launched its rights representation service last fall with partnerships with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Marvel Enterprises.

Corbis is headquartered in Seattle, with offices in New York, Los Angeles and 13 other cities around the world.