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ICM Partners founder Marvin Josephson passes

Marvin Josephson, founder of ICM Partners, passed away on Tuesday (17 May) in New York, at the age of 95.

An official cause of death has not been announced.

“We mourn the loss of Marvin Josephson, one of the founders of ICM, who was universally respected as an agent, a leader and a man,” ICM Partners said in a statement. “We send our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Born on March 6, 1927 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, US, Josephson was raised by immigrant parents. After serving in the US Navy during the twilight of World War II, he returned to the US to attend Cornell University and then night law school at New York University School of Law. Upon receiving his degree in 1962, Josephson started a job in the CBS legal department.

In 1955, Josephson began his own personal management company, drawing clients such as “Captain Kangaroo” producer and star Bob Keeshan. Josephson later converted the company into a talent agency upon entering the world of television personalities, representing figures such as Chet Huntley, Peter Jennings, Frank McGee, Don Hewitt and Reuven Frank. Later in his career, Josephson would represent Barbara Walters.

Josephson’s agency grew, eventually merging with the LA-based Rosenberg Coryell, which had Bing Crosby and James Garner among its client list. After buying out his California partners, Josephson’s company was renamed Marvin Josephson Associates (MJA).

“[Josephson] was universally respected as an agent, a leader and a man”

After acquiring Ashley Famous Agency in 1968, the combined agency was renamed International Famous Agency (IFA), though the parent company that owned IFA continued to be called MJA. MJA then acquired Creative Management Associates (CMA), a more film-focused agency as opposed to IFA’s emphasis on television and publishing.

Josephson served as chairman and CEO of the combined talent agency, which was renamed International Creative Management (ICM) and grew to become a huge operation in entertainment, representing clients such as Yo Yo Ma, Henry Kissinger, Steve McQueen, Margaret Thatcher and Colin Powell during Josephson’s tenure.

In 1992, Josephson passed control of ICM onto Jeff Berg, Sam Cohn and Jim Wiatt, though Josephson maintained a leadership role and continued to represent personal clients. In 2005, the company was sold to a private investor, Suhail Rizvi.

Josephson is survived by his wife, Tina Chen; his children, Celia Josephson, Claire Josephson, Nancy Josephson, YiLing Chen-Josephson and YiPei Chen-Josephson; his 16 grandchildren; his two great-grandchildren and his brother, Jack Josephson. He was predeceased by his son, Joe Josephson.

The family has asked that donations be sent to The Jewish Federations of North America to support families in Ukraine in memory of Josephson.

 


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