I received a thank you note from the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International the other day for a donation I made to the organization. It is one of my favorite groups and they are doing great work trying to save the mountain gorillas.
I was struck by the following paragraph in the letter...
Although we are the only group that Dian Fossey established, DFGFI has not benefited financially from her estate. Her will, executed in Rwanda, was challenged in US courts by her stepfather and royalties from Gorillas in the Mist were awarded to him.
I looked into this further and, while I didn't find a great deal of information out there, I did find some. Apparently, Dian had a very unhappy childhood with her mother and stepfather. Some of the material indicated that it was her mother that challenged the will and got about 4 million dollars that Dian had wanted left to the Digit Fund which eventually became DFGFI.
It's a sad story that doesn't say much for the guardians of a remarkable woman.
Dian Fossey was controversial. Some say she was a martyr and some say she was disturbed. You can decide for yourself. Here is DFGFI's take on her. Here is a generic take on Wikipedia.
And for a really in-depth analysis of her murder from the criminal angle, here is a lengthy article from the Crime Library, of all places