FBI Director, black-mailer, keeper of secret files and let’s just say it, an all-round loathsome human being, J. EDGAR HOOVER finally dies and leaves the bulk of his estate to Clyde Tolson, his “companion” of over forty years.
Hoover described Tolson as his alter ego: the men not only worked closely together during the day, but also took meals, went to night clubs and vacationed together. Tolson inherited Hoover’s estate worth approximately $551,000 and moved into his home, having also accepted the American flag that draped Hoover’s casket. Tolson is buried a few yards away from Hoover in the Congressional Cemetery.
Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, whose father was Hoover’s ghost writer, tells this story: “One thing happened that made me wonder if maybe [my father] did know something about Hoover’s supposed love of dresses and wigs. My sister and I used to take the FBI tour once a year. It was a big deal in D.C., and we never missed it.
“One year, 1961, when I was eight, I was on the tour and my father asked me if I’d like to meet Vivian Vance. According to Helen Gandy, Hoover’s secretary, Vance was visiting Hoover, and she said she’d be happy to meet us.
“Ethel Mertz is here?” I screamed. My father smiled and took my sister and me into Hoovers’ office, where I shook Vivian Vance’s hand and chatted with her. I was thrilled. Years later, I was reminiscing with my sister about the meeting, and suddenly I realized something. “Does it seem odd to you,” I asked her, “that when we met Vivian Vance in Hoover’s office, Hoover wasn’t there?
“I’ve called some Vivian Vance experts, including Rob Edelman and Audrey Kupferberg, who wrote Meet the Mertzes: The Life Stories of I Love Lucy’s Other Couple; none of them knew of any meeting between Vance and Hoover. Neither is there any record at the FBI of Mertz ever being there. I’m not saying at the age eight I definitely met J. Edgar Hoover at his office in the FBI wearing a dress and makeup, only that I strongly suspect it. My mother says I’m crazy, but she wasn’t there.”