A MAN IN FULL: Clint Eastwood At 80


JOE QUEENAN: Because he started out as an actor, and very quickly became an actor that a large segment of the population positively adored, in the same way that they adored Jimmy Cagney and Cary Grant and both Hepburns, Eastwood has long benefited from a personal relationship with the American people that no other living director can even dream of. (In my lifetime, only Alfred Hitchcock, who came into everyone’s living room once a week to deliver his weird, deadpan introductions to his creepy TV series, has enjoyed this sort of ongoing, intimate rapport with the American people. But little boys didn’t want to grow up to look like the puffy director. And very few women would have asked Hitchcock to play Misty for them.) Eastwood’s close relationship with his countrymen is the sort of thing that Michael Jordan, Joe DiMaggio, Marilyn Monroe and Babe Ruth all experienced. At a certain point, he, like Elvis Presley, crossed over into a land beyond reproach, where no blemish would ever go on his personal record, no matter how many Sondra Locke movies he made. It was OK to dislike this or that Eastwood movie – Pink Cadillac, Tightrope, The Gauntlet – as long as you did not dislike the man himself. Even women who did not like Eastwood expected their men to. The American people might forgive you for being a communist or an atheist. But they would never forgive you for saying you did not like Clint Eastwood. MORE

RELATED: Ever wonder what Leonardo DiCaprio looks like in a dress? We may find out, because he’s set to star in a Clint Eastwood-directed biopic j-edgar-hoover.jpgabout J. Edgar Hoover, the late FBI director who was rumored to have had a particular fondness for women’s clothing… “We all have these assumptions about Hoover,” says Dustin Lance Black, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of the Hoover movie. “Was he this or was he that? Was he a cross-dresser? Was he gay?  “Was he as villainous as we all think he might have been? Was there ever any light to him?” MORE

RELATED: Hoover was reluctant to take on organized crime, perhaps, it was once supposed, because the Mafia had something on him, something with which he was blackmailed into silence and inaction. “No evidence for this has ever been discovered,” Geary says. Hoover never married, lived with his mother until her death, and made a life-long intimate of his bachelor assistant, Clyde Tolson, even going on vacation together. The other canard Geary addresses is the allegation that Hoover was a cross-dresser or transvestite, if not homosexual as well, according to a story about his supposed appearance in dress and wig, requesting to be called “Mary,” at a private party in New York’s Plaza Hotel. But for Geary, the story is without merit. “Told by a single unreliable witness, it seemed, to many, out of character for the obsessively secretive Hoover.” More likely, Hoover simply suppressed his sexuality: “as an authoritarian personality, he was fearful of his own sexuality and would actively suppress any such desires.” MORE

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