DiCaprio spent several hours with Cartha DeLoach at the 91-year-old’s home in South Carolina while he was researching his role in J. Edgar, and the two men discussed the FBI director’s sexuality at length.
DeLoach, who was part of the team which investigated President John F. Kennedy’s death in the 1960s, tells USA Today, “I made it very clear that I never saw any evidence of it (homosexuality) whatsoever. I travelled with him (Hoover), I ate in his home and he in mine.”
But the one-time deputy FBI director’s concerns appear not to have swayed DiCaprio and director Clint Eastwood from portraying Hoover as a closeted gay man with deep feelings for another top aide, Clyde Tolson.
DeLoach insists Hoover and Tolson were nothing more than good friends: “I knew Clyde Tolson to be Mr. Hoover’s companion and best friend. When you are somebody like Mr. Hoover, I guess you need somebody to talk to.”
But not everyone associated with Hoover and the FBI are as accepting of the film’s version of events when it comes to the homosexual undertones of the new film, although current bureau boss Mike Kortan insists both Eastwood and DiCaprio did their homework and spent hours chatting to agents past and present.
He says, “We provided information so that their story could be accurate. What they did with it, as with any production, has been entirely in their hands.”
William Branon, chairman of The J. Edgar Hoover Foundation and officials at the Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI have fired off letters to Eastwood expressing their concerns about the misrepresentation of an American hero, with Branon stating, “It would be a grave injustice and monumental distortion to proceed with such a depiction based on a completely unfounded and spurious assertion.”
And William Baker, a former agent and Hoover Foundation vice president, tells USA Today “We don’t want to support something not based in fact.”