Hoover was Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 1924 until his death. A vocal patriot, he had avoided service in the First World War; a public Christian, he never went to church; a man with black ancestors, regarded by the black community as passing as white, he proved his whiteness by refusing to employ black agents, by ferociously opposing all movements for racial equality, by slandering and persecuting Marcus Garvey, Paul Robeson and Martin Luther King.
Publicly homophobic, he started an affair with rookie agent Clyde Tolson in 1927, promoting him to Assistant Director within three years. The affair continued until Hoover's death 45 years later, although they never lived together.
On the take from, and being blackmailed by, organized crime, Hoover always insisted that there was no such a thing as the Mafia, and always understaffed or removed any team that was supposed to be fighting organized crime. He always made sure that he had information about the current U.S. president so that he would not be removed.
Anthony Summers' 1993 biography tells how photos of Hoover in drag were being circulated in a political gay crowd associated with the Maystat Tavern at 1628 L St NW in Washington in 1948. Susan Rosentiel, wife of Lewis, the owner of Schenley distillers, has told how she met such right-wing gays as Roy Cohn and Cardinal Spellman, and how twice in 1958 and 1959 she attended an orgy party at New York's Plaza Hotel, next to Central Park, where she met 'Mary' Hoover in short skirt, wig and stockings.
Hoover was made a Knight of the British Empire (KBE) 1950, and was warded the National Security Medal 1955, and the Distinguished Service Award 1966.
He introduced the 1945 film The House on 92nd Street which is about a female German agent in New York who passes as male.
In Woody Allen’s film Bananas, 1971. Dorothi Fox plays a middle-aged black woman who is J. Edgar Hoover in disguise. Had Woody Allen heard some rumors?
- Anthony Summers. Official and Confidential: the Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, London: Victor Gollancz, 528 pp 1993. New York: Pocket Star Books 1994: 254.
- William Cran (dir & scr). The Secret File on J.Edgar Hoover. Based on the book by Anthony Summers. US 55 mins 1993.
- “J. Edgar Hoover”. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Edgar_Hoover.
- "The Classic Detective". Aangirfan. May 20, 2009. http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2009/05/classic-detective.html
- Anthony Summers. "The Secret Life of J Edgar Hoover". The Observer, 1 Jan 2012. www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/jan/01/j-edgar-hoover-secret-fbi