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Clyde Tolson

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J. Edgar Hoover

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Clyde Tolson

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Herbert HooverFranklin D. RooseveltHarry S. TrumanDwight D. EisenhowerJohn F. KennedyLyndon B. JohnsonRichard Nixon

May 22, 1900 (age 74) Laredo, Missouri, U.S. (

Alma mater
George Washington UniversityGeorge Washington University School of Law

Similar People
J Edgar Hoover, Helen Gandy, Armie Hammer, Richard Hauptmann, Melvin Purvis

April 14, 1975 (aged 74) Washington, D.C., U.S.

J edgar hoover clyde tolson a homosexual couple

Clyde Anderson Tolson (May 22, 1900 – April 14, 1975) was Associate Director of the FBI from 1930 until 1972, primarily responsible for personnel and discipline. He is best known as the protégé and ostensible life partner of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.


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Early life

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Tolson was born in Laredo, Missouri. He graduated from Laredo High School in 1915 and attended Cedar Rapids Business College from which he graduated in 1918.

Early career

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From 1919 to 1928, he was confidential secretary for three Secretaries of War: Newton D. Baker, John W. Weeks, and Dwight F. Davis. Tolson completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at George Washington University in 1925 and a Bachelor of Laws from the same institution in 1927. While attending George Washington University, Tolson became a member of the Delta Pi Chapter of Sigma Nu.


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In 1928, Tolson applied to the FBI and was hired as a Special Agent later that month. Tolson reportedly indicated on his application that he wanted to use the job as a stepping stone to gain experience and earn enough money to open a law practice in Cedar Rapids. After working in the FBI's Boston and Washington, D.C., field offices, he became the chief FBI clerk and was promoted to assistant director in 1930.

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In 1936, Tolson joined Hoover to arrest bank robber Alvin Karpis. He survived, later that year, a gunfight with gangster Harry Brunette. In 1942, Tolson participated in capturing Nazi saboteurs on Long Island and Florida. In 1947, he was made FBI Associate Director with duties in budget and administration.

Relationship with Hoover

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It has been stated that J. Edgar Hoover described Tolson as his alter ego: "They rode to and from work together, ate lunch together, traveled together on official business, and even vacationed together." Rumors circulated for years that the two bachelors had a romantic relationship. Some authors dismissed the rumors about Hoover's sexual orientation and possible intimate relationship with Tolson, while others have described them as probable or even "confirmed", and still others reported the rumors without stating an opinion.

When Hoover died, Tolson inherited his estate of US$551,000, moved into his house; and accepted the U.S. flag draped on Hoover's coffin.

Later life

In 1964, Tolson suffered a stroke and remained somewhat frail for the remainder of his life. In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded him the President's Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service, saying that Tolson “has been a vital force in raising the proficiency of law enforcement at all levels and in guiding the Federal Bureau of Investigation to new heights of accomplishment through periods of great National challenge.” Hoover kept Tolson employed in the FBI even after Tolson became too old for police duty and passed the retirement age.

After Hoover's death on May 2, 1972, Tolson was briefly the acting head of the FBI. L. Patrick Gray became acting director on May 3. That same day, Tolson contacted Mark Felt and instructed him to write Tolson's letter of resignation. Citing ill health, Tolson retired from the bureau on May 4, the day of Hoover's funeral. Felt was appointed to Tolson's position.

After Tolson left the FBI, his health began to decline. On April 10, 1975, Tolson was admitted to Doctors Community Hospital in Washington, DC, for renal failure. He died there four days later of heart failure at the age of 74. Tolson is buried in the Congressional Cemetery, near Hoover's grave.

Depictions in fiction

Tolson has been depicted numerous times in novels, television, and movies, including:

  • The 1977 film The Private Files of J. Edgar Hoover portrayed by Dan Dailey
  • The 1984 TV movie Concealed Enemies portrayed by Ralph Byers
  • The 1987 TV movie J. Edgar Hoover portrayed by actor Robert Harper
  • The 1992 TV movie Citizen Cohn portrayed by Daniel von Bargen
  • The 1994 satirical radio play "J. Edgar," written by Harry Shearer, portrayed by John Goodman
  • The 1995 film Nixon portrayed by Brian Bedford
  • The 1997 novel Underworld by Don DeLillo
  • The 2011 film J. Edgar portrayed by Armie Hammer
  • The 2013 TV movie The Curse of Edgar portrayed by actor Anthony Higgins
  • The 2015 comic Providence by Alan Moore
  • References

    Clyde Tolson Wikipedia