O'Brien's first is a predictable, melodramatic but solidly entertaining B-movie of a show-biz novel--the story of a star-crossed pair of lovers who yearn to make it on the silver screen. Ever since his days of taking care of his drunken father and keeping the grounds of a country club in Seattle, Bobby Pierce has dreamed of becoming an actor. But a brief stint doing extra work in L.A. convinces him that the only way to do it is sleep his way to the top, something he's amply qualified for. So he moves to New York (this is the early 50's) and becomes a kind of bisexual hustler; and one day a rich patroness introduces him to Amelia Foster, a tough-talking, chain-smoking archetype of a theatrical agent who begins to get him commercials and bit parts in plays. He thinks he's really on his way when he falls in love with another client of Amelia's, lovely ingÃ‰nue Lisa Weller; but her drive and determination carry her to starting roles, while Bobby never quite seems able to put it together. Show-biz pressures split them up--Lisa goes on to movie stardom as Bobby sinks to porn flicks and eventually gives up altogether, marrying the kindly daughter of a Brooklyn deli owner, having several kids, and eventually buying a gas station in Manhattan. Which is where, 25 years later, Lisa stops to fill up her limo--and the two are reunited in the kind of comfortably satisfying scene usually found these days only on the Late Late Show. Too much time has gone by for them to be lovers again, but they remain friends until the tear-jerking finale, where Lisa (after receiving a comeback Oscar and dedicating it to Bobby) is killed by a drunken bum who turns out to be her estranged, long-lost father. Bring your popcorn.