NEW YORK (AP) _ Pop star Michael Jackson's first book, ''Moonwalk,'' goes on sale around the country this week, four years after it was acquired and published in secrecy.

In the book, the 29-year-old Jackson writes about his show business friends, his girlfriends, his plastic surgery and his fame.

Jacqueline Onassis, a Doubleday editor, helped acquire the rights to the book and has written a three-paragraph introduction to it.

Doubleday was so determined to keep the book's contents under wraps that it hired employees' family members to deliver portions of the manuscript to the printing plant, The New York Times reported today.

''Moonwalk,'' named for Jackson's trademark dance step, will be accompanied by a barrage of publicity, including trivia or song contests on more than 70 radio stations in 27 cities.

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NEW YORK (AP) - Actress Gail Strickland says shock value wasn't what motivated her to seek the role of the first regular lesbian character on a prime-time television show.

''It's not often actors get to play parts that might make a difference,'' said Strickland, whose nurse practitioner character, Marilyn McGrath, on ABC- TV's medical drama ''Heartbeat'' will reveal Wednesday that she is in love with another woman.

''The fact that somewhere, somehow, someone's perspective might be softened is important to me.''

Strickland, 41, says she's surprised that TV didn't break the taboo long ago.

''God knows, they've tried to sensationalize everything else,'' she said in an interview in this week's People magazine.

Strickland, whose credits include ''Cagney & Lacey'' and ''Hill Street Blues,'' says she expects some negative viewer reaction.

''I'm sure they'll get mail, and I'm afraid they'll pull back when they get negative responses,'' said Strickland, who is engaged to a Boston businessman.

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WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (AP) - Wolfgang Puck's trendy Sunset Boulevard restaurant, Spago, may be a hit with stars and stargazers, but residents complain the eatery's traffic gives them heartburn.

Community activist Sibyl Zaden and others say Spago's success as a watering hole for the rich and famous has been at their expense, with nightly traffic snarls that have disrupted their quiet community overlooking Sunset Strip.

''We don't begrudge Spago its success, we just don't believe we should have to put up with traffic jams every night while trying to get in and out of our homes,'' said Ms. Zaden.

Puck says the restaurant is doing all it can. ''No matter what we do, some of the neighbors are still going to cry about something,'' he said.

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DETROIT (AP) - Malcolm Bricklin, who began importing cars after his gull- winged sports-car venture died, is being bought out of his latest business - selling inexpensive Yugoslavian and Asian cars, the president of Bricklin's Global Motors Inc. said.

Global Motors is the parent of Yugo America Inc., which introduced the Yugo to the United States in August 1985 with a minuscule $3,990 base price, and Proton America Inc., which plans to import a Malaysian-built car by year's end.

An investor-management group headed by Mabon Nugent and Co., a New York investment-banking firm, agreed three weeks ago to give Global Motors a cash infusion in exchange for equity in the company and debt, said William Prior, Global's president.

Bricklin, through Prior, declined comment.

Bricklin, who will continue to work with Global Motors as a paid consultant, introduced his gull-winged, acrylic-and-fiberglass-bodied sports car in 1974. But production never neared his 12,000-a-year goal, and the company died in 1976.

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NEW YORK (AP) - St. Louis Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog says he can't figure out why his players are afflicted with a rash of side pulls. But maybe it's got something to do with their healthful diets, he mused.

''They're all vegetarians. They're all on salt-free diets. They're all so finely tuned. They snap too frequently. There's got to be a reason for it,'' Herzog said Sunday of his defending National League championship baseball team.

''I think they ought to go out and eat a steak with some fat. Get some juice on that muscle.''

Joe Magrane pulled a muscle in his right side Saturday, joining fellow pitchers John Tudor and Ken Dayley with injuries.

''Paul Waner never had a pulled muscle. Babe Ruth never had a pulled muscle. Their diets weren't too good. Babe lived on hot dogs and beer. Once in a while, that might be good for you,'' Herzog said.

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HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - Jamie Hutton figured to be a thousand miles away by the time the leaders completed the final round of the Heritage Classic golf tournament. Thanks to Greg Norman, the Wisconsin youngster instead was the first to shake hands with the winner - Greg Norman.

The 17-year-old Hutton, a leukemia patient from Madison, Wis., had a wish fulfilled when he accompanied Norman during Saturday's third round of the tournament. The boy and his mother were scheduled to fly home Sunday, before the final round began.

That's when Norman stepped in.

''We decided to charter a plane ... so they could see the final round,'' Norman said. ''It couldn't work out any better.''

Indeed, it couldn't. Hutton walked the entire 18 holes with the Australian, who won the tournament by a stroke. It broke a two-year American tour victory drought for Norman.

''I just wanted to fulfill a wish for Jamie that he requested. I think we did more than fulfill it. Right, Jamie?'' Norman asked at a news conference.

The smiling youngster said that ''some people like movie stars. I just like Mr. Norman. Greg's been the greatest through this all.''