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Jack Valenti Gay? J. Edgar Hoover Thought So

No one who knew the affable and charming Jack Valenti, Hollywood’s chief lobbyist in Washington for many years, thought he was anything other than a draw to the ladies.

But it turns out that J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI chief who was himself was a major homophobe, was “consumed” with proving that Valenti and a former male commercial photographer were more than friends.

Citing previously confidential FBI reports, the Washington Post reported today that FBI agents tracked down the photographer, who confirmed he’d attended parties with Valenti, along with their female dates, but “never engaged in homosexual activities and he does not have these tendencies.”

In fact the whole rotten file says more about Hoover, who sought  personal dirt on officials to stay in power, than it does about Valenti or any of the FBI’s other targets. Hoover never married and was a constant companion of longtime aide Clyde Tolson. Most historians believe Hoover was gay, one reason for the FBI’s obsession with hunting down homosexuals during the 1960s.

Valenti was a Houston ad man who came to Washington to work for President Lyndon Johnson just after John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Valenti, a much-in-demand 41-year-old bachelor, was smitten with and later wed Mary Margaret, a White House secretary. The two were married for nearly 45 years and parents of three children. In 1966, Valenti became head of the Motion Picture Assn., serving as Hollywood’s face in Washington from 1966 to 2004. Valenti died two years ago at the age of 85.