- Directors: Sydney Pollack
- Producers: Sydney Pollack, Dick Richards
- Writers: Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal, Barry Levinson, Elaine May
- Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance
- Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is a respected but perfectionist actor on the verge of turning forty. Nobody in New York wants to hire him anymore because he is so difficult to work with or he is either too old or too young for a role. Not having worked in four months, he eventually hears of an opening on the soap opera Southwest General (a parody of General Hospital) from his friend Sandy Lester (Teri Garr), who initially tries out for the role but doesn’t get it. In desperation, he cross-dresses, auditions as â€Dorothy Michaelsâ€ and eventually wins the part.
Michael thinks it is just a temporary job to pay the bills, but he proves to be so popular as a feisty hospital administrator that, to his dismay, the producers sign him to a long-term contract. Dorothy is such a hit that she is even featured on the covers of a number of well-known magazines.
The masquerade begins to fall to pieces when Michael is caught by Sandy while taking off his clothes and to try on hers (to get more ideas for Dorothy’s outfits). He tries to stall the moment by seducing Sandy and reluctantly starting a romantic relationship with her, which proves to be difficult because of Sandy’s neurotic personality and incredibly low self-esteem.
Some weeks later, Michael, having made amends with Julie’s father, waits for her outside the studio and touchingly confesses that â€œâ€¦I was a better man with you as a woman than I ever was with a woman as a manâ€ and since he already became good friends as Dorothy he claims “I just gotta learn how to do it without the dress.” She forgives him and they have a cheerful argument over Julie wanting to wear one of Michael’s outfits.