John Edgar Hoover and his assistant Clyde Tolson sitting in beach lounge chairs, c. 1939
John Edgar Hoover (January 1, 1895 – May 2, 1972) was the first Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of the United States. Appointed director of the Bureau of Investigation—predecessor to the FBI—in 1924, he was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935, where he remained director until his death in 1972 aged 77. Since the 1940s, rumors have circulated that Hoover was gay. There are speculations that Clyde Tolson, an associate director of the FBI and Hoover’s primary heir, may have been his lover.