Midwesterner John Byrum studied at NYU's film school and entered the industry as a screenwriter with the forgettable "Have a Nice Weekend" (1975). He got his first chance to direct with the poorly-received "Inserts" (1975), which featured Richard Dreyfuss as a once-famous Hollywood director now reduced to shooting porno films. After penning the Diana Ross vehicle "Mahogany" (1976), Byrum wrote and directed "Heart Beat" (1979), the highly fictionalized, triangular romance of Beat writers Neal Cassady, Carolyn Cassady and Jack Kerouac. The film won a mixed reception, with most heaping praise on the lead performances of Nick Nolte and Sissy Spacek. The 1984 remake of "The Razor's Edge" (1984) featured comedian Bill Murray in a rare dramatic role. Byrum fashioned a lavishly designed production that, while adequate, paled in comparison with the original. Reviews were harsh and audiences stayed away. After the failure of the crass comedy "The Whoopee Boys" (1986, his last directorial outing to date), Byrum turned to the small screen.