J. Edgar Hoover Filmmaker: Dustin Lance Black Is Lying About All The Gay Stuff

Stripping the cross-dressing rumors from J. Edgar Hoover’s upcoming biopic is not enough to get film writer and director Larry Cohen to give his stamp of approval. That’s because Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the late FBI director, still portrays Hoover as a big homo. And Cohen — whose 1977 The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover was, in his mind, more accurate than what Imagine Entertainment and Warner Brothers is spitting out today — isn’t standing for it.

Cohen — whose sister, Hollywood publicist Ronni Chasen, was murdered while driving home to Beverly Hills last year — read Dustin Lance Black‘s script for J. Edgar and came up with 17 pages of notes, detailing supposed inaccuracies, misrepresentations, and outright lies about Hoover.

Mr. Cohen’s biggest gripe is what he describes as the film’s portrayal of Hoover, the longtime director of the F.B.I., “as a closeted gay man.” In his critique, which Mr. Cohen said he planned to post online if he could find a proper forum, he acknowledges that Hoover had long been the subject of reports and rumors of cross-dressing and of a hidden sexual relationship with his aide Clyde Tolson (who died in 1975, three years after Hoover). But Mr. Cohen insists that the stories, which made a splash in Anthony Summers’s 1993 biography “Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover,” are not backed up by credible evidence that Hoover was “anything but asexual.”

Based on its script, Mr. Eastwood’s movie will dwell heavily on the Lindbergh kidnapping case, in which, by Mr. Cohen’s assessment, Hoover “had only the most peripheral involvement.” And he contends the film makes much of Hoover’s reluctance to pursue the Mafia, but underestimates the positive effect of what he calls a “gentleman’s agreement,” under which Hoover supposedly let crime bosses operate prostitution and gambling rings, as long as they helped to block the narcotics trade.

Cohen’s own film (which this blogger has not seen) has been described as “relish[ing] his scenes of Hoover’s homosexuality and his propensity for sitting in the dark with a bottle of whiskey, replaying tapes of the amorous liaisons of high government officials — the decadently homosexual Hoover built his political power base by getting all the dirt he could on the government’s movers and shakers — particularly their sexual liaisons — and blackmailing them for their support when he could not get it in any other way.”

Warner Bros. says Cohen worked not off the final shooting script, but an early draft that hadn’t been vetted. Either way, we’re going to make an offer to Cohen: If you want some place to publish your 17-page dossier, touch us in our asexual place

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  • D.R.A.

    I’ve read that the rumors about Hoover being a cross-dresser are completely baseless, but that Hoover was almost certainly gay. Is this true?

  • reason

    Who would want Hoover as part of this community? He was nothing more than a duplicitous, distrustful, backstabbing, power hungry monster. I could imagine Hollywood trying to play up the gay thing, after all it fits right in with their stereotypical vision of a gay man: power abusing, two faced, sex-crazed, old homosexual sitting in a dark room getting off on hidden video with a bottle of whiskey.

  • sidewalk

    What’s missing is why Larry Cohen was vetting the script, and why his evaluation/opinion matters so much.

  • greenmanTN

    I think J Edgar Hoover’s sexuality can be inferred, but do you really think the notoriously dictatorial head of the FBI was going to leave a record of it?

    And until I see a picture of the two in the same room I’ll always suspect that Ginger Rogers’ mother Lela, who destroyed many careers in front of the HUAC committee, was really J Edgar in drag.

  • Vatican Lokey

    Whitewashing gay history is just as bad as ignoring it. Yes, Hoover was gay and a duplicitous, blackmailing, power-hungry toady; so was Roy Cohn. So are a lot of people regardless of their sexual identity.
    We cannot pick & choose the people we like in history, especially gay history. To do so invalidates all the positive achievements the gay community has contributed. Its a bit like the old Deep South axiom: we don’t ask if you have crazy people in your family, we ask on which side.

  • George412


    Because Dustin Bareback doesn’t write most of his scripts. If you do digging you will learn that Ron Nyswaner was one of the main talents behind the script for MILK, but Dustin Bareback got the credit.

  • sidewalk

    @George412: I was wondering why Cohen specifically matters, other than the fact he made a film about Hoover in the 70’s. Are there no biographers or historians who could be consulted?

    I did not know that bit of history about the “Milk” script. The story was always how he took road trips up to SF to do interviews, somehow met Gus Van Sant who facilitated more research, etc.

  • The sane Francis

    The man was gay, and it’s important to note this because not noting it is ignoring and hiding the truth because of HOMOPHOBIA. The man’s anti-gay actions as a gay man were a major part of who he was and what he did. The real fact of the matter is, that a lot of these FBI/government agents, this filmmaker, and others who looked up to Hoover, are homophobes who think Hoover’s homosexuality taints him. Or that it’s somehow a slight against Hoover to correctly say he was gay. That homophobia cannot be allowed to whitewash reality.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    Even Roy Cohn stated Hoover was gay. And he would know.

  • Daine

    Why would Hoover’s alleged homosexuality be Larry Cohen’s biggest gripe? As if. Unless he lived in the same house as Hoover, he can’t assume what Hoover’s sexual orientation was, and being asexual doesn’t mean he was unable to have a relationship with a man or a woman.

  • hephaestion

    Hoover was absolutely gay. Roy Cohn said so. He dined with Clyde Tolson every day for decades. Tolson is buried just feet away from Hoover.

    Hoover was NOT a cross-dresser. When they busted open KGB records in 1991 they found proof that the KGB started that rumor and spread it everywhere. There was no evidence to it. The KGB learned that Hoover was gay and they figured everyone would be stupid enough to assume that all gay men cross-dressed at the time, so they spread the cross-dressiing rumor trying to undermine him. It’s in KGB records. He was not a cross-dresser. But he was gay.

  • B

    No. 11 · hephaestion wrote, “Hoover was NOT a cross-dresser. When they busted open KGB records in 1991 they found proof that the KGB started that rumor and spread it everywhere.”

    Then the KGB must have been singularly ineffectual. From what I can remember, the rumors did not hit the mainstream press until after Hoover left the FBI and departed from his earthly existence (if only because lots of people were afraid of Hoover). Surely the KGB would not have bothered to start spreading those rumors after Hoover’s death – it would have been a waste of time given that there would have been zero benefit to the Soviet Union.

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,879566,00.html has some details about him dating from 1975 – no mention of cross dressing. If there were rumors, they were pretty well squashed until after his death and even after his demise it took a few years for any negative statements to appear in the mainstream press.

  • David Ehrenstein

    I’ve seen Cohen’s film, and it’s not the Gay-O-Ram you imagine. Cohen has been operating on the fringes of the fringes. Clint is mainstream. Cohen is dripping with envy.

  • David Ehrenstein

    There’s no cross-dressing in Cohen’s film, and His J. Edgar (Broderick Crawford) and Clyde (Dan Dureya) do not kiss.

  • sidewalk

    @David Ehrenstein: Do you have any insights on why Larry Cohen was vetting the script, and why his evaluation/opinion matters so much? Did the producers solicit his input?

  • Justwow

    Watching that episode of Archer is starting to make sense.

  • Oprah

    Asexual simply means Homosexual. You cannot surpress Heterosexuality, however much the idea being mysterious and lovely. We all know, if heterosexuality does exist, a wife and a breeding must follow.In Hoovers case, we certainly know for sure, he was never seen with a woman, nor a child,even if only a to pretend. Having said that, i have absolutely NO DOUBT Hoover was a Homo. If anything, his posture alone bespoke of a very gentile, unattractive bottom in gangsta like suits.(compliment the fashion of his era of course) Cross dressing or not, he was certainly not a straight man. He is however, a very, very interesting character to read or to watch. Here is a man who i read that abhored any sort of incivility or lack of eloquence i a man or a woman. I read somewhere that he detested a certain official because he talked like a ‘truck driver’. This quote gives you a window into the soul of this particular closeted homosexual queen. Say what you want about the man, but he is most definitely a very interesting character. His rise to prominence and high office is as important as his homosexuality.(the latter being most delicious for me, given my appetite for rumors and innuendo)
    Hoover and Roy Cohn, are two very interesting closeted homosexuals who rose to amazing high office,despite their homosexuality.If anything, a human story can be told here that is amazing and hilarious in a certain way.But while Roy Cohn came from a privileged jewish family, Hoover came from an under middle class family,he payed his own education, studied at night, even perfomed jobs like janitorial if i am not confusing him with the House republican Boehner. Here is a man of ambition, who managed to terrorize his nemesis with the power of his office, and who managed to have a sqeecky clean record, virtually NO PROOF of his homosexuality other than the lack of his Heterosexuality.There was no written gossip that we know of, or even public accusation that we can produce. At least, Roy Cohn, who a monster that he was, at least he was publicly called a ‘fairy’ by a very manly heterosexual man in a courtroom. I say- Kudos to the dead ugly gay lord Hoover, if nothing else– for his hunger and ultimate climb to creating the now over hyped FBI-ology.

    PS: Although i am very much looking forward to watching the movie– i am not very thrilled at the idea of Hot Leo portraying– Un-Hot Hoover. Mr. Hoover was an ogre, if i maybe allowed to be so blunt. :)

  • Oprah

    Eyes Rolled


    Gee so interesting to know that the repugnatican frightwing Gay closet cases aren’t much different than the era of Hoover………

    Self hating repugnatican Gays are still persecuting fellow Gays, passing legislation harmfull to the community all while playing straight to appease the lunatic haters, those of who are not Gay most likely diddling some other vagina than the one belonging to their wives……..All whilst upholding the shining beacon of “family values”……….

  • Steve

    There really is no doubt that Hoover was gay. His contemporaries recorded their relationships in private journals.

    There were no public statements, of course, because at the time it was illegal to be gay. If he had “come out”, he would have been prosecuted.

    He worked against homosexuals, investigated and prosecuted them, because it gave him power. Just like so many hateful right-wing Republicans do, before they are outed.

  • Michael

    DiCaprio as Hoover? Ahm just not feeling it.

  • Danny

    Sounds like the new film will be very entertaining.

  • David Ehrenstein

    @sidewalk: I seriously doubt that either Clint or Lance were soliciting Cohen’s opinion. It’s not all that didfficult to get ahold of a shooting script. Cohen’s just flapping his gums.

    Hoover and Cohen were two very different gay men when it came to sexuality. Hoover was deeply DEEPLY closeted — and fearful of being “found out.” Cohn was a regular at Studio 54.

  • rickster

    i read that book. a complete white wash of hoover.

  • sidewalk

    @David Ehrenstein: ok, well, maybe they should have you read the script for notes!

    The tone of deference in the first graph (“his stamp of approval”) seemed off to me, considering the blogger had not even seen his film.

  • Cam


    The Writers Guild of America has stated that he wrote the screenplay, If they lied about it, why hasn’t this “Ron Nyswaner” stepped in a sued for credit?

  • meego

    @Cam: If the writers Guild said it is true, then it must be. Oh yes, it must be. Good Lord, your stupidity is astounding! This just goes to show how little you know about such things. This “Ron” fellow and Dustin have an arrangement. Been done before, many times. Go read up on the subject before talking out of your ass!

  • JT

    They should put in information about J. Edgar Hoover being a closet queen but everyone already knows about this or if they do any sort of research on him after watching this tripe of a film they’ll quickly find it out.

  • canundra

    Honestly, it’s a movie made by Hollywood. Since when have movies been one hundred percent historically accurate?

  • JoeyB

    Geez, finally, Dustin Lance is being exposed for the fraud that he is. Good riddance to this loser I say!

  • JoeyB

    oh, and what’s with the Justin Bieber haircut, Lance??? gross

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