ⓘ J. Edgar Hoover

                                     

ⓘ J. Edgar Hoover

John Edgar Hoover was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States and an American law enforcement administrator. He was appointed as the director of the Bureau of Investigation – the FBIs predecessor – in 1924 and was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director for another 37 years until his death in 1972 at the age of 77. Hoover has been credited with building the FBI into a larger crime-fighting agency than it was at its inception and with instituting a number of modernizations to police technology, such as a centralized fingerprint file and forensic laboratories.

Later in life and after his death, Hoover became a controversial figure as evidence of his secretive abuses of power began to surface. He was found to have exceeded the jurisdiction of the FBI, and to have used the FBI to harass political dissenters and activists, to amass secret files on political leaders, and to collect evidence using illegal methods. Hoover consequently amassed a great deal of power and was in a position to intimidate and threaten others, including sitting presidents of the United States.

Under Hoovers leadership the FBI used COINTELPRO to smear black civil rights activists and native american groups using forged documents and by planting false reports in the media; harassment; wrongful imprisonment; and illegal violence, including assassination. His victims include Mark Clark activist, Assata Shakur, Geronimo Pratt, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Marshall "Eddie" Conway.

Hoover also oversaw the assassination of Fred Hampton who was executed infront of his 9-month pregnant girlfriend by Chicago police.

                                     

1. Early life and education

John Edgar Hoover was born on New Years Day 1895 in Washington, D.C., to Anna Marie nee Scheitlin; 1860–1938, who was of Swiss-German descent, and Dickerson Naylor Hoover Sr. 1856–1921, chief of the printing division of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey, formerly a plate maker for the same organization. Dickerson Hoover was of English and German ancestry. Hoovers maternal great-uncle, John Hitz, was a Swiss honorary consul general to the United States. Among his family, he was the closest to his mother, who was their moral guide and disciplinarian.

Hoover was born in a house on the present site of Capitol Hill United Methodist Church, located on Seward Square near Eastern Market in Washingtons Capitol Hill neighborhood. A stained glass window in the church is dedicated to him. Hoover did not have a birth certificate filed upon his birth, although it was required in 1895 in Washington. Two of his siblings did have certificates, but Hoovers was not filed until 1938 when he was 43.

Hoover lived in Washington, D.C. his entire life. He attended Central High School, where he sang in the school choir, participated in the Reserve Officers Training Corps program, and competed on the debate team. During debates, he argued against women getting the right to vote and against the abolition of the death penalty. The school newspaper applauded his "cool, relentless logic." Hoover stuttered as a boy, which he overcame by teaching himself to talk quickly - a style that he carried through his adult career. He eventually spoke with such ferocious speed that stenographers had a hard time following him.

Hoover was 18 years old when he accepted his first job, an entry-level position as messenger in the orders department, at the Library of Congress. The library was a half mile from his house. The experience shaped both Hoover and the creation of the FBI profiles; as Hoover noted in a 1951 letter: "This job. trained me in the value of collating material. It gave me an excellent foundation for my work in the FBI where it has been necessary to collate information and evidence."

Hoover obtained a Bachelor of Laws from The George Washington University Law School in 1916, where he was a member of the Alpha Nu Chapter of the Kappa Alpha Order, and an LL.M. in 1917 from the same university. While a law student, Hoover became interested in the career of Anthony Comstock, the New York City U.S. Postal Inspector, who waged prolonged campaigns against fraud, vice, pornography, and birth control.

                                     

2. Department of Justice

Immediately after getting his LL.M. degree, Hoover was hired by the Justice Department to work in the War Emergency Division. He accepted the clerkship on July 27, 1917, when he was just 22 years old. The job paid $990 a year $19.800 in 2020 and was exempt from the draft.

In 1920, Edgar Hoover was initiated at D.C.s Federal Lodge No. 1 in Washington D.C., becoming a Master Mason by age 25 and a 33rd Degree Inspector General Honorary in 1955.

                                     

2.1. Department of Justice War Emergency Division

He soon became the head of the Divisions Alien Enemy Bureau, authorized by President Woodrow Wilson at the beginning of World War I to arrest and jail allegedly disloyal foreigners without trial. He received additional authority from the 1917 Espionage Act. Out of a list of 1.400 suspicious Germans living in the U.S., the Bureau arrested 98 and designated 1.172 as arrestable.

                                     

2.2. Department of Justice Head of the Radical Division

In August 1919, the 24-year-old Hoover became head of the Bureau of Investigations new General Intelligence Division, also known as the Radical Division because its goal was to monitor and disrupt the work of domestic radicals. Americas First Red Scare was beginning, and one of Hoovers first assignments was to carry out the Palmer Raids.

Hoover and his chosen assistant, George Ruch, monitored a variety of U.S. radicals with the intent to punish, arrest, or deport those whose politics they decided were dangerous. Targets during this period included Marcus Garvey; Rose Pastor Stokes and Cyril Briggs; Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman; and future Supreme Court justice Felix Frankfurter, who, Hoover maintained, was "the most dangerous man in the United States."

                                     

2.3. Department of Justice Head of the Bureau of Investigation

In 1921, Hoover rose in the Bureau of Investigation to deputy head and, in 1924, the Attorney General made him the acting director. On May 10, 1924, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Hoover as the fifth Director of the Bureau of Investigation, partly in response to allegations that the prior director, William J. Burns, was involved in the Teapot Dome scandal. When Hoover took over the Bureau of Investigation, it had approximately 650 employees, including 441 Special Agents. Hoover fired all female agents and banned the future hiring of them.

                                     

2.4. Department of Justice Early leadership

Hoover was sometimes unpredictable in his leadership. He frequently fired Bureau agents, singling out those he thought "looked stupid like truck drivers," or whom he considered "pinheads." He also relocated agents who had displeased him to career-ending assignments and locations. Melvin Purvis was a prime example: Purvis was one of the most effective agents in capturing and breaking up 1930s gangs, and it is alleged that Hoover maneuvered him out of the Bureau because he was envious of the substantial public recognition Purvis received.

Hoover often praised local law-enforcement officers around the country, and built up a national network of supporters and admirers in the process. One whom he often commended for particular effectiveness was the conservative sheriff of Caddo Parish, Louisiana, J. Howell Flournoy.



                                     

2.5. Department of Justice Depression-era gangsters

In the early 1930s, criminal gangs carried out large numbers of bank robberies in the Midwest. They used their superior firepower and fast getaway cars to elude local law enforcement agencies and avoid arrest. Many of these criminals frequently made newspaper headlines across the United States, particularly John Dillinger, who became famous for leaping over bank cages, and repeatedly escaping from jails and police traps. The gangsters enjoyed a level of sympathy in the Midwest, as banks and bankers were widely seen as oppressors of common people during the Great Depression.

The robbers operated across state lines, and Hoover pressed to have their crimes recognized as federal offenses so that he and his men would have the authority to pursue them and get the credit for capturing them. Initially, the Bureau suffered some embarrassing foul-ups, in particular with Dillinger and his conspirators. A raid on a summer lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wisconsin, called "Little Bohemia," left a Bureau agent and a civilian bystander dead and others wounded; all the gangsters escaped.

Hoover realized that his job was then on the line, and he pulled out all stops to capture the culprits. In late July 1934, Special Agent Melvin Purvis, the Director of Operations in the Chicago office, received a tip on Dillingers whereabouts that paid off when Dillinger was located, ambushed, and killed by Bureau agents outside the Biograph Theater.

Hoover was credited for overseeing several highly publicized captures or shootings of outlaws and bank robbers. These included those of Machine Gun Kelly in 1933, of Dillinger in 1934, and of Alvin Karpis in 1936, which led to the Bureaus powers being broadened.

In 1935, the Bureau of Investigation was renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI. In 1939, the FBI became pre-eminent in the field of domestic intelligence, thanks in large part to changes made by Hoover, such as expanding and combining fingerprint files in the Identification Division, to compile the largest collection of fingerprints to date, and Hoovers help to expand the FBIs recruitment and create the FBI Laboratory, a division established in 1932 to examine and analyze evidence found by the FBI.



                                     

2.6. Department of Justice American Mafia

During the 1930s Hoover persistently denied the existence of organized crime, even while there were numerous shootings as a result of Mafia control of and competition over the Prohibition-created black market. Gangster Frank Costello helped encourage this view by feeding Hoover tips on sure winners through their mutual friend, gossip columnist Walter Winchell. Hoover had a reputation as "an inveterate horseplayer" known to send Special Agents to place $100 bets for him. Hoover said the Bureau had "much more important functions" than arresting bookmakers and gamblers. However it is widely believed that Hoovers reticence to use the full force of the FBI to investigate" the Mafia” was due to the existence of compromising photographs of Hoover and his colleague, FBI Deputy Director and long-time intimate partner Clyde Tolson, which were in the possession of, and controlled by, the gangsters Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello.

While Hoover had fought bank-robbing gangsters in the 1930s, anti-communism was a bigger focus for him after World War II as the Cold War developed. During the 1940s through mid-1950s, he seemed to ignore organized crime of the type that ran vice rackets such as drugs, prostitution, and extortion. He denied that any Mafia operated in the United States. In the 1950s, evidence of Hoovers unwillingness to focus FBI resources on the Mafia became grist for the media and his many detractors.

After the Apalachin meeting in 1957, Hoover could no longer deny the syndicates existence and its influence on the North American underworld, as well as Cosa Nostras overall control and influence of the Syndicates many branches throughout North America and abroad. Hoover created the "Top Hoodlum Program" and went after the syndicates top bosses throughout the country.



                                     

2.7. Department of Justice Investigation of subversion and radicals

Hoover was concerned about what he claimed was subversion, and under his leadership, the FBI investigated tens of thousands of suspected subversives and radicals. According to critics, Hoover tended to exaggerate the dangers of these alleged subversives and many times overstepped his bounds in his pursuit of eliminating that perceived threat.

William G. Hundley, a Justice Department prosecutor, said Hoover may have inadvertently kept alive the concern over communist infiltration into the government, quipping that Hoovers "informants were nearly the only ones that paid the party dues."

                                     

2.8. Department of Justice Florida and Long Island U-boat landings

The FBI investigated rings of German saboteurs and spies starting in the late 1930s, and had primary responsibility for counterespionage. The first arrests of German agents were made in 1938 and continued throughout World War II. In the Quirin affair, during World War II, German U-boats set two small groups of Nazi agents ashore in Florida and Long Island to cause acts of sabotage within the country. The two teams were apprehended after one of the men contacted the FBI and told them everything. He was also charged and convicted.

                                     

2.9. Department of Justice Illegal wire-tapping

During this time period President Franklin D. Roosevelt, out of concern over Nazi agents in the United States, gave "qualified permission" to wiretap persons "suspected. long life brimmed over with magnificent achievement and dedicated service to this country which he loved so well". Hoover was buried in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., next to the graves of his parents and a sister who died in infancy.

                                     

3. Legacy

Biographer Kenneth D. Ackerman summarizes Hoovers legacy thus:

For better or worse, he built the FBI into a modern, national organization stressing professionalism and scientific crime-fighting. For most of his life, Americans considered him a hero. He made the G-Man brand so popular that, at its height, it was harder to become an FBI agent than to be accepted into an Ivy League college.

Hoover worked to groom the image of the FBI in American media; he was a consultant to Warner Brothers for a theatrical film about the FBI, The FBI Story 1959, and in 1965 on Warners long-running spin-off television series, The F.B.I. Hoover personally made sure Warner Brothers portrayed the FBI more favorably than other crime dramas of the times.

In 1979 there was a large increase in conflict in the House Select Committee on Assassinations HSCA under Senator Richard Schweiker, which had re-opened the investigation of the assassination of President Kennedy and reported that Hoovers FBI failed to investigate adequately the possibility of a conspiracy to assassinate the President. The HSCA further reported that Hoovers FBI was deficient in its sharing of information with other agencies and departments.

U.S. President Harry S Truman said that Hoover transformed the FBI into his private secret police force:

. we want no Gestapo or secret police. The FBI is tending in that direction. They are dabbling in sex-life scandals and plain blackmail. J. Edgar Hoover would give his right eye to take over, and all congressmen and senators are afraid of him.

Because Hoovers actions came to be seen as abuses of power, FBI directors are now limited to one 10-year term, subject to extension by the United States Senate.

The FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC is named the J. Edgar Hoover Building, after Hoover. Because of the controversial nature of Hoovers legacy, there have been periodic proposals to rename it by legislation proposed by both Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate. The first such proposal came just two months after the buildings inauguration. On December 12, 1979, Gilbert Gude – a Republican congressman from Maryland – introduced H.R. 11137, which would have changed the name of the edifice from the "J. Edgar Hoover F.B.I. Building" to simply the "F.B.I. Building." However, that bill never made it out of committee, nor did two subsequent attempts by Gude. Another notable attempt came in 1993, when Senator Howard Metzenbaum pushed for a name change following a new report about Hoovers ordered "loyalty investigation" of future Senator Quentin Burdick. In 1998, Senator Harry Reid sponsored an amendment to strip Hoovers name from the building, stating that "J. Edgar Hoovers name on the FBI building is a stain on the building." The Senate did not adopt the amendment.

Hoovers practice of violating civil liberties for the sake of national security has been questioned in reference to recent national surveillance programs. An example is a lecture titled Civil Liberties and National Security: Did Hoover Get it Right?, given at The Institute of World Politics on April 21, 2015.



                                     

4.1. Private life Pets

Hoover received his first dog from his parents when he was a child, after which he was never without one. He owned many throughout his lifetime and became an aficionado especially knowledgeable in breeding of pedigrees, particularly Cairn Terriers and Beagles. He gave many dogs to notable people, such as Presidents Herbert Hoover no relation and Lyndon B. Johnson, and buried seven canine pets, including a Cairn Terrier named Spee De Bozo, at Aspen Hill Memorial Park, in Silver Spring, Maryland.

                                     

4.2. Private life Sexuality

From the 1940s, rumors circulated that Hoover, who was still living with his mother in his early 40s, was homosexual. The historians John Stuart Cox and Athan G. Theoharis speculated that Clyde Tolson, who became an assistant director to Hoover in his mid 40s, was a homosexual lover to Hoover and became his primary heir until his death. Hoover reportedly hunted down and threatened anyone who made insinuations about his sexuality. Truman Capote, who enjoyed repeating salacious rumors about Hoover, once remarked that he was more interested in making Hoover angry than determining whether the rumors were true.

Some associates and scholars dismiss rumors about Hoovers sexuality, and rumors about his relationship with Tolson in particular, as unlikely, while others have described them as probable or even "confirmed". Still other scholars have reported the rumors without expressing an opinion.

Cox and Theoharis concluded that "the strange likelihood is that Hoover never knew sexual desire at all."



                                     

4.3. Private life Hoover and Tolson

Hoover described Tolson as his alter ego: the men worked closely together during the day and, both single, frequently took meals, went to night clubs, and vacationed together. This closeness between the two men is often cited as evidence that they were lovers. Some FBI employees who knew them, such as Mark Felt, say the relationship was "brotherly"; however former FBI official Mike Mason suggested that some of Hoovers colleagues denied that he had a sexual relationship with Tolson in an effort to protect Hoovers image.

The novelist William Styron told Summers that he once saw Hoover and Tolson in a California beach house, where the director was painting his friends toenails. Harry Hay, founder of the Mattachine Society, one of the first gay rights organizations, said Hoover and Tolson sat in boxes owned by and used exclusively by gay men at the Del Mar racetrack in California.

Hoover bequeathed his estate to Tolson, who moved into Hoovers house after Hoover died. Tolson accepted the American flag that draped Hoovers casket. Tolson is buried a few yards away from Hoover in the Congressional Cemetery.

                                     

4.4. Private life Other romantic allegations

Hoovers biographer Richard Hack does not believe the director was gay. Hack notes that Hoover was romantically linked to actress Dorothy Lamour in the late 1930s and early 1940s and that after Hoovers death, Lamour did not deny rumors that she had an affair with him.

Hack further reported that, during the 1940s and 1950s, Hoover attended social events with Lela Rogers, the divorced mother of dancer and actress Ginger Rogers, so often that many of their mutual friends assumed the pair would eventually marry.

                                     

4.5. Private life Pornography for blackmail

Under Hoover, agents were directed to seize all pornographic materials uncovered in their investigations and forward them to Hoover personally. He kept a large collection, possibly the worlds largest, of films, photographs, and written materials, with particular emphasis on nude photos of celebrities. Hoover reportedly used these for his own titillation, as well as holding them for blackmail purposes.

                                     

4.6. Private life Cross-dressing story

In his biography Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover 1993, journalist Anthony Summers quoted "society divorcee" Susan Rosenstiel as claiming to have seen Hoover engaging in cross-dressing in the 1950s, at all-male parties.

Summers alleged the Mafia had blackmail material on Hoover, which made Hoover reluctant to pursue organized crime aggressively. According to Summers, organized crime figures Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello obtained photos of Hoovers alleged homosexual activity with Tolson and used them to ensure that the FBI did not target their illegal activities. Additionally, Summers claimed that Hoover was friends with Billy Byars, Jr., an alleged child pornographer and producer of the film The Genesis Children.

Another Hoover biographer who heard the rumors of homosexuality and blackmail, however, said he was unable to corroborate them, though it has been acknowledged that Lansky and other organized crime figures had frequently been allowed to visit the Del Charro Hotel in La Jolla, California, which was owned by Hoovers friend, and staunch Lyndon Johnson supporter, Clint Murchison Sr. Hoover and Tolson also frequently visited the Del Charro Hotel. Summers quoted a source named Charles Krebs as saying, "on three occasions that I knew about, maybe four, boys were driven down to La Jolla at Hoovers request."

Skeptics of the cross-dressing story point to Susan Rosenstiels lack of credibility she pleaded guilty to attempted perjury in a 1971 case and later served time in a New York City jail. Recklessly indiscreet behavior by Hoover would have been totally out of character, whatever his sexuality. Most biographers consider the story of Mafia blackmail unlikely in light of the FBIs continuing investigations of the Mafia.

In his book The Bureau: The Secret History of the FBI, journalist Ronald Kessler exposed as false the claim by Susan S. Rosenstiel, a former wife of Lewis S. Rosenstiel, chairman of Schenley Industries Inc., that she saw Hoover engaging in cross-dressing at a party in 1958 at the Plaza Hotel in New York. Kessler, a former Washington Post reporter, wrote that Rosenstiel had served time at Rikers Prison in 1971 for perjuring herself in a 1971 case.

Although never corroborated, the allegation of cross-dressing has been widely repeated. In the words of author Thomas Doherty, "For American popular culture, the image of the zaftig FBI director as a Christine Jorgensen wanna-be was too delicious not to savor." Biographer Kenneth Ackerman says that Summers accusations have been "widely debunked by historians".

                                     

4.7. Private life The Lavender Scare

The attorney Roy Cohn served as general counsel on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations during Senator Joseph McCarthys tenure as chairman and assisted Hoover during the 1950s investigations of Communists and was generally known to be a closeted homosexual. Cohns opinion was that Hoover was too frightened of his own sexuality to have anything approaching a normal sexual or romantic relationship.

During the Lavender scare, Cohn and McCarthy further enhanced anti-Communist fervor by suggesting that Communists overseas had convinced several closeted homosexuals within the U.S. government to leak important government information in exchange for the assurance that their sexual identity would remain a secret. A federal investigation that followed convinced President Dwight D. Eisenhower to sign an Executive Order on April 29, 1953, that barred homosexuals from obtaining jobs at the federal level.

In his 2004 study of the event, historian David K. Johnson attacked the speculations about Hoovers homosexuality as relying on "the kind of tactics Hoover and the security program he oversaw perfected: guilt by association, rumor, and unverified gossip." He views Rosenstiel as a liar who was paid for her story, whose "description of Hoover in drag engaging in sex with young blond boys in leather while desecrating the Bible is clearly a homophobic fantasy." He believes only those who have forgotten the virulence of the decades-long campaign against homosexuals in government can believe reports that Hoover appeared in compromising situations.

                                     

4.8. Private life Supportive friends

Some people associated with Hoover have supported the rumors about his homosexuality. According to Anthony Summers, Hoover often frequented New York Citys Stork Club. Luisa Stuart, a model who was 18 or 19 at the time, told Summers that she had seen Hoover holding hands with Tolson as they all rode in a limo uptown to the Cotton Club in 1936.

Actress and singer Ethel Merman was a friend of Hoovers from 1938, and familiar with all parties during his alleged romance of Lela Rogers. In a 1978 interview she said: "Some of my best friends are homosexual: Everybody knew about J. Edgar Hoover, but he was the best chief the FBI ever had."

                                     

5. Written works

J. Edgar Hoover was the nominal author of a number of books and articles, although it is widely believed that all of these were ghostwritten by FBI employees. Hoover received the credit and royalties.

  • Hoover, J. Edgar 1962. A Study of Communism. Holt Rinehart & Winston. ISBN 978-0-03-031190-1.
  • Hoover, J. Edgar 1938. Persons in Hiding. Gaunt Publishing. ISBN 978-1-56169-340-5.
  • Hoover, J. Edgar February 1947. "Red Fascism in the United States Today". American Magazine.
  • J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI. Scholastic Publishing. 1993. ISBN 978-0-590-43168-2. HV8144F43D46.
  • Hoover, J. Edgar 1958. Masters of Deceit: The Story of Communism in America and How to Fight It. Holt Rinehart and Winston. ISBN 978-1-4254-8258-9.
                                     

6. Honors

  • 1955: President Dwight D. Eisenhower awarded Hoover the National Security Medal.
  • 1973: The newly built FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., is named the J. Edgar Hoover Building.
  • 1974: Congress voted to honor Hoovers memory by publishing a memorial book, J. Edgar Hoover: Memorial Tributes in the Congress of the United States and Various Articles and Editorials Relating to His Life and Work.
  • 1974: In Schaumburg, Illinois, a grade school was named after J. Edgar Hoover. However, in 1994, after information about Hoovers illegal activities was released, the schools name was changed to commemorate Herbert Hoover instead.
  • 1938: Oklahoma Baptist University awarded Hoover an honorary doctorate during commencement exercises, at which he spoke.
  • 1950: King George VI of the United Kingdom appoints Hoover Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
  • 1939: the National Academy of Sciences awarded Hoover its Public Welfare Medal.
  • 1966: President Lyndon B. Johnson bestowed the State Departments Distinguished Service Award on Hoover for his service as director of the FBI.
                                     

7. Theater and media portrayals

J. Edgar Hoover has been portrayed by numerous actors in films and stage productions featuring him as FBI Director. The first known portrayal was by Kent Rogers in the 1941 Looney Tunes short "Hollywood Steps Out". Some notable portrayals listed chronologically include:

  • Ernest Borgnine in the theatrical film Hoover 2000.
  • Stephen Root in the HBO television film All the Way 2016.
  • David Fredericks in the episode "Matryoshka" 1999 of Millennium.
  • Pat Hingle in the television film Citizen Cohn 1992.
  • Jack Warden in the television film Hoover vs. The Kennedys 1987.
  • T.R. Knight in the National Geographic television series Genius 2017.
  • Wayne Tippit in two episodes of Dark Skies 1996 and 1997.
  • Richard Dysart in the theatrical film Panther 1995.
  • Ernest Borgnine in the television film Blood Feud 1983.
  • Broderick Crawford and James Wainwright in the Larry Cohen film The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover 1977.
  • Vincent Gardenia in the television miniseries Kennedy 1983.
  • Dorothi Fox "portrayed" Hoover in disguise in the 1971 film Bananas.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in the Clint Eastwood biopic J. Edgar 2011.
  • Eric Ladin in the HBO series Boardwalk Empire, season 4 2013.
  • Michael McKean in Robert Schenkkans play All the Way at the American Repertory Theater 2013.
  • David Fredericks in the episodes "Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man" 1996 and "Travelers" 1998 of The X-Files.
  • Dylan Baker in Ava DuVernays Martin Luther King biopic Selma 2014.
  • Bob Hoskins in the Oliver Stone drama Nixon 1995.
  • William Forsythe in the Amazon television series The Man in the High Castle 2018.
  • Kevin Dunn in the film Chaplin 1992.
  • Treat Williams in the television film J. Edgar Hoover 1987.
  • Dolph Sweet in the television miniseries King 1978.
  • Sean McNall in the movie No God, No Master 2014.
  • Ryan Drummond voiced him in the Bethesda Softworks game Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth 2005.
  • Kelsey Grammer portrayed Hoover, with John Goodman as Tolson, in the Harry Shearer comic musical J. Edgar! on L.A. Theatre Works The Plays the Thing 2001.
  • Billy Crudup in the Michael Mann film Public Enemies 2009.
  • William Harrison-Wallace in the Dollar Baby 2012 screen adaptation of Stephen Kings short story, "The Death of Jack Hamilton" 2001.
  • Rob Riggle in the "Atlanta" 2013 episode of Comedy Centrals Drunk History.
  • Enrico Colantoni in the television miniseries The Kennedys 2011.
  • Larry Drake in the Robert Dyke film Timequest 2002.
  • Richard Dysart in the television film Marilyn & Bobby: Her Final Affair 1993