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Mountain Gorilla Benefit in New York

More then $18,000 was raised on December 3 at the "Primate Affair," a celebrity benefit for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and its work with the endangered mountain gorillas of Rwanda. Conceived and organized by "Love, Janis" star Catherine Curtin and playwright/director Randal Myler, the event took place at the historic Village Theater in New York City's Greenwich Village.

"My heart has always gone out to the mountain gorilla, such a beautiful and powerful and gentle primate." says Curtin. Quite simply, they need to be saved."

"Our children and their children need to know that we did all that we could to protect this incredible animal. A few years back I vowed that someday I'd try my hand at a benefit for them here in New York City. So, on my night off, with the help of a lot of good friends, we went for it," Curtin adds.

Some 175 attendees at the Primate Affair were treated to performances by cast members from such Broadway hits as "Kiss Me Kate" and "It Ain't Nothin' but the Blues." The cast of "Love, Janis" also performed. Celebrities in attendance included Gloria Steinem and husband David Bale, Odetta. and Barbara Parkins.

Silent and live auctions were conducted throughout the evening. Some of the items receiving the highest bids were an African safari donated by Natural Habitat Adventures, a "walk-on" part on HBO's "Sex and the City," and a historic poster signed by Dian Fossey.

"In these difficult times, we appreciate enormously the continued support for our effort to save the endangered mountain gorillas," says Clare Richardson, president and CEO of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. "We feel that our fight to help save the mountain gorillas is but one step toward the conservation and preservation of all life."

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, headquartered in Atlanta, has funded, operated and expanded upon the work begun by Dian Fossey in Rwanda in 1967. Fossey founded the Digit Fund in 1978 to preserve and protect the world's last mountain gorillas. Following her tragic death, the Fund was renamed the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, to honor Dr. Fossey and to underscore its commitment to carry on the gorilla protection and research programs she established. The mountain gorilla is one of the world's most critically endangered primates. DFGFI maintains a staff of scientists, trackers and anti-poachers working year round in Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo to protect and observe the gorillas. The Fund also pursues conservation research and outreach, as well as education and awareness programs.

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, 800 Cherokee Ave., Atlanta, GA 3031