Clint Eastwood‘s epic flim J Edgar hits theaters this weekend, painting a grim portrait of legendary FBI director J Edgar Hoover. It’s appropriate that Hollywood has finally produced a biopic focusing on Hoover’s life, since he spent so much of it obsessing over film and TV actors, producers, and writers. Along with monitoring the production of such FBI based shows as The Untouchables and The FBI, Hoover reportedly targeted much of Tinseltown for what he considered “subversive activities.” In the years since Hoover’s death, evidence has come to light showing that Hoover investigated, and occasionally persecuted, any Hollywood celebrity who crossed him. Here are seven of the most notable Hollywood icons Hoover had in his crosshairs.
Charlie Chaplin is widely considered one of the greatest comedic performers to have ever lived. Unfortunately J. Edgar Hoover wasn’t known for his sense of humor (except that time he wore white after Labor Day). Chaplin was known for supporting left-wing causes, and this led Hoover to bar his re-entry in to the Untied States after Chaplin attended the London premier of the film “Limelight” in 1952. Chaplin took the hint and made himself comfortable in Europe for the remainder of his life, except for his return to the U.S. in 1972 to accept an honorary Academy Award. This occurred one month before Hoover’s death, which makes it one of the coolest “f*ck you” moments in history.
Actress Jean Seberg appeared in everything from “Breathless” to “Airport.” Along with being well regarded by critics and audiences, she was a major supporter of The Black Panthers. Hoover wasn’t on board the soul train, apparently, and in 1970 he had false stories planted in the media accusing Seberg of infidelity. This occurred during Seberg’s first marriage and pregnancy, and preceeded the death of her infant child and her eventual suicide in 1979. So in addition to developing law enforcement techniques for the 20th century, J. Edgar Hoover also paved the way for the Internet bully.