(1932–1985), pioneer conservationist and field naturalist known for her work on the mountain gorilla in Central Africa. Fossey was born in California, but many of the facts about her life and death are unknown, falsified, or confusing. Neither her own autobiography, Gorillas in the Mist (1983), nor the 1988 movie of the same name are reliable sources. Fossey attended college as a preveterinary student for two years before starting training as an occupational therapist. In 1954 she secured a hospital position in Louisville, Kentucky. There she forged a close bond with Mary White Henry, the hospital secretary, whose family had a great interest in Africa. Fossey became enthralled by the idea of visiting Africa and borrowed against three years of her salary to make a private safari in 1963.
From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History in Oxford Reference.