October 17, 2001 03:12 PM

Rain didn’t dampen Tuesday’s New York premiere and party for the CBS movie “Jenifer,” based on the life and struggles of off-Broadway producer and Naked Angels theatre troupe founder Jenifer Estess. Estess discovered she had A.L.S. (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, in 1997, at the height of her career, and the film shows how she and her two sisters fought to find a cure and founded project A.L.S. to further much-needed research The disease, to date, is still incurable and debilitating. Scott Wolf, who plays one of Jenifer’s blind dates in the film, so admires Estess that when he heard that the biography was being made, he told her he would “drive a truck, feed people . . . I just wanted to be involved,” he told PEOPLE. “I really hope the film has the impact that it should and opens some people’s eyes to what they didn’t know about A.L.S.” The film, which premieres Oct. 21, stars Laura San Giacomo as Estess, Anabella Sciorra as her sister Meredith and Jane Kaczmarek as her sister Valerie. In supporting roles are Camryn Manheim (as a nurse), Julianna Margulies (therapist), Edie Falco and Marisa Tomei. Jane Alexander, who plays Jenifer’s mother in the film, says she truly feels maternal towards Estess. “I’ve known Jenifer since she was in college with Jace (Alexander’s son, and the director of the telefilm), and then they were one of the original founders of Naked Angels,” Alexander told PEOPLE. “It’s wonderful to be a part of this film, because Jenifer is a slugger and she’s gonna change the face of this whole thing.”

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