Gladys Glover (Judy Holliday) is an unsuccessful model and actress who believes that a jolt of publicity will do her career a world of good. She gets that publicity by renting a billboard in the middle of Manhattan, emblazoned with her name and photograph. As a result, Gladys is showered with endorsement by (Peter Lawford).
He becomes enamored with Gladys, which irritates her unofficial boyfriend, documentary-director Pete Sheppard (Jack Lemmon) (in his film debut).
Pete grows tired of Gladys' publicity stunt, feeling that it is turning her into an object rather than a human being, but Gladys luxuriates in the fame and fortune. A happy ending may be inevitable, but it's a hard-won happiness for both hero and heroine.
Scriptwriter Garson Kanin had intended this as a vehicle for Danny Kaye, but Kanin's wife Ruth Gordon suggested the gender-switch to Judy Holliday, noting that what might seem aggressive from Kaye would appear merely whimsical from Holliday.
In one of the best scenes, real-life celebrities Melville Cooper, Ilka Chase and Constance Bennett show up as talk-show panelists -- the ideal magnet for the likes of Gladys Glover, who has become famous merely for being famous.