The Big Laugh by John O'Hara

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Richard Hubert ("Hubie") Ward is a wily young actor from the Easternmost world of prep schools and summers on the Cape. By the time he is twenty-five, he has lied, cheated, and seduced his way to the big-time on the Coast. Hollywood prizes Hubie for his air of respectability: "He was not a Latin or a Jew...he was not a booze artist...he was not actorish, he was not pugnacious...he was of the theater, he had been given good notices in an Art picture, he was not confused by an oyster fork, he stood up when ladies entered the room..." But Hubie's blind ambition quickly strips away the guise. He blackmails the man who gave him his first acting job, then spends an amorous afternoon with the wife of a studio head who happens to be his boss. Nothing, it seems, can stop the self-destructive philandering that dogs this shooting star.

Ecco Press, 1997.
ISBN: 9780880015752. 308 pp.
Softcover. Very good.