Remembering Murray Franklin’s of Miami Beach

MIAMI BEACH – Murray Franklin’s was once one of the more interesting nightclub in Miami in the 1950s, and was the hangout place of many notables. Franklin was comedian, but his nightclub became a place were all sorts of talent was discovered. It was where Don Rickles was discovered by Frank Sinatra and where the housewife/standards singer Roberta Sherwood was discovered by the likes of Walter Winchell and Red Buttons.

Rickles, in his biography, called Franklin the “Ed Sullivan” of Miami Beach. In the era of Wolfies and Club Pigalle, Franklin’s was a small place on 23rd Street.

A brief discussion from an old guidebook:

MURRAY FRANKLIN’S, 23rd at the Ocean, Miami Beach (JE 8-7201).  Wacky wonderland of Miami Beach.  Franklin himself is a very funny guy and runs a little madhouse here, with unpredictable and impromptu entertainment.  This is where Roberta Sherwood was re-discovered last year.  Don’t take your maiden aunt.  Open from 9 pm to 6 am but the joint doesn’t start jumping until 2 am.

Does anyone have any memories of this place? Love for them to leave the comments below.

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  1. bobby barrowman says

    loved murrey franklyns in miami beach my mother cocktail watrest there in 1961 as i was just 8 yrs old i loved the little park in front of the club and wolfies across the park on the other side what good memories please respond ….bobby

  2. bobby thompson says


  3. Carolyn Shapiro says

    Murray Franklin is my great great grandfather. Though I never met him because he passed away months after I was born, I have heard so many stories about the man. He was a legend.

  4. barbara shapiro meade says

    murray franklin was my grandfather and like a father to me until the day he died. He was the funniest man i know and i have been fortunate to be told i have some of his sense of humor. I have 4 children and was grateful he got to meet them all. He even sent my boys boxing gloves when they were little because they had the name franklin on them..I was so lucky to have spent so much time with in fla. growing up. Going to the Voyager and swim in the pool and one day even had lunch with mIckey rooney in the coffee shop i had a tuna sandwich i was around 10 and ill never forget it. When my oldest daughter Stephanie turned 1 30 yrs ago he had a rum cake And gave her her first taste of ice cream. I am a grandma now and he would be a great great grandpa and i know he would have loved it. I could write forever but all i will say is i loved him like no other and he was one of a kind and i think of him and miss him terribly everyday In my heart Murray Franklin lives forever. I love you gramps!

  5. murray skolsky says

    hi there

    just red the bio on murray franklin. i met murray in the mid 80s he owned a hotel in surfside and was , i believe partners with bud bailey . murray was a really nice man. i actually hung out with him over a two year period , when i came down from toronto to visit my parents. when i first met him he said your not a bad looking IRISh. i said no JEWISH. YOU DO NOT LOOK JEWISH. i answered and said, murray i just found out last month there was a goyum in the wood pile, broke him up. as a example. i seen many times , when somebody asked for the time pull down his zipper and nobody knew what to expect, pull out a pocket watch and give the time, male or female.i know he was good friends with big time entertainers, like Frank SINATRA., who wished him happy birthday on national television and apologized for not being at his birthday party. i could go on and on but i will leave with one last story. i drove murray around a few times in his red cadi. one day i help him out of the car and grab his arm and he says to me, you know murray i am thinking of getting a gun. i reply what are you nuts. at that time i believe was mid 80s. do you think that at my age i am going to get rolled or take a beating from some of these young punks. if i shoot them what are going to do give me life and lets out with that great laugh he had..normally i do not get into e mails, but i looked murray franklin and red the e mail from his grand daughter and out of respect , i thought a couple stories would bring a smile and a tear; barbara you were blessed to have a grandfather as loveable as murray

    all the best murray skolsky bangkok

  6. Stephen Shapiro says

    Hi Murray,

    I’m Murray Franklins oldest grandchild. I just read your note and am more than grateful for your kind words. I’m amazed that my Gramps can still make people laugh two decades after he died. His gags, routines, and amazing timing made him irrestible. I spent many sleepy nights and mornings at his club. I remember being about 7 or 8 with my mom and dad trying to stay awake through Rickels insults.
    Roberta Sherwood was warm and genuine.

    My young son and I visited him near the end of his life and Murray probably sensed my feelings of strange finality as we said so long and see you soon. We went down to our rented convertible and got the top down for the ride to the airport. I looked up and saw Murray leaning over the railing. This is what he said:

    As the sun kisses the morning dew

    And as the dew kisses the grass

    You my friends………

    can have a nice day.

    I still chuckle. It wasn’t the last time I got to see him. He made me laugh to his last breath. His comedy and charm are legendary and I’ll always treasure his memory.

  7. Susan Shapiro says

    I’m Murray’s other grand daughter Susan Shapiro Piller that went to college in Florida, which I suppose speaks volumes about how close I felt to my grandfather.

    Whether you were part of his immediate family in New York or not, he seemed to have an enormous group of ‘dear friends’ that all seemed so special. My Gramps was the youngest grandfather I’ve ever heard of or known. He had silly toys and hats, erotic gadgets and statues, a slew of ’round tuits’ for people who were waiting to ‘get around to it’, and one of the quickest minds on the beach ( which he incidentally passed on to his only daughter, my mother Audrey Franklin Shapiro).

    Gramps had a gift. He was treasured by young and old and had a strong opinion about most things. Like the time we talked about the development south of the Fontainbleu that he said ‘would never make it’ – – until South Beach became a destination.

    It’s heartwarming to read about other people whose lives he touched. I have pages and chapters in my head and heart but will never have enough space to do him justice.

  8. Corey says

    What are you all set about this ordinary guy was really inspiring.. I never met the man and I sure wish I did. My grandfather travel to Miami Beach all the time and sixties seventy’s. That was my connection to Miami beach, until I was fortunate to meet a lovely lady.

    I know you never go back and how wonderful it would be or could be if we could. I would love to be part a great days of the fifties and sixties. Perhaps possible to recreate is extraordinary experience.

  9. Jerry Lanning says

    I am Roberta Sherwood’s son. Murray Franklin gave my mother her start. He was the only one who took a chance on a forty-three year old, mother of three boys, who also was taking care of a sick husband, my father, Don Lanning, at home in North Miami. One night, Walter Winchell walked in, stayed for awhile, asked my mother some questions, told her to listen to his radio broadcast that Sunday night and everything changed for us thereafter. It all started with Murray.

  10. Dulcy Engel Perlov says

    If Audrey Franklin is still around, please have her get in touch with me. We were best friends in the forties in New York and would love to hear from her. I have tried all these years until I saw this in facebook. After we got married and had childen,we drifted apart but she always was my bff..I am in Santa Monica, Ca. Please have her write to my e-mail address. Thank you

  11. says

    My father, Richard Veit, was a photographer in the Miami area and he use to hang out at Murray Franklin’s. I have recently inherited his collection of photographs and quite a few are of Murray and some of his entertainers – Roberta Sherwood, Kaye Carole and her dummy Tommy, Dick Havalin – taken during the mid 1950’s. My father made it well known to everyone how kind and helpful Murray was to him when he allowed my father to photograph at the club. My father learned quite a bit about photographing in available light as flash wasn’t allowed.

    If any of you want to know more about these photographs, please contact me through my email address.

    Thank you

  12. Richard Colburn says

    Hello Steve,

    Murray Franklin and my grandfather were cousins, second cousins to be precise.

    We spoke around 10 maybe 15 years ago – international call, as part of my family history research.

    At the time we couldn’t figure out the connection.

    The short version is that you and I, along with your sisters Barbara and Susan have common ancestors, born in Poland/Prussia, who immigrated to the US in the 1860s.

    Five of their children also immigrated and settled in the US, 4 boys and a girl.

    I am a direct, paternal line descendant of their eldest son.

    You and your wonderful family are descended from the youngest of their sons who settled in the US and although he had 5 children but my research to date indicates that Murray grew up not only as an only child, but with no cousins either.

    I have no words to express my joy at finding this Tribute page as I have been planning on reconnecting with you and sooner rather than later, as none of us are getting any younger.

    I really hope that you or one of your other family members who posted here get to read this.

    Having traced my genealogy back to our common Great Great Great Grandparents, I embarked on a project to trace all of the living descendants of that amazing Immigrant couple. They were in their 60s when they crossed the Atlantic, at sea level!

    Warm greetings Barbara, Susan, Carolyn and all of your extended family.

    I didn’t realise what an amazing legacy your Grandfather left behind Steve.

    Looking forward to catching up with you soon

  13. Stephen Shapiro says


    Your amazing work and generously kind words have opened my eyes and my heart. Thank you. Some time in the mid 1990’s I took a business trip to Warsaw, Poland. It was my first trip to Europe. Somehow I felt an attraction and unexplained familiarity to the people I met. Some welcomed me as a returning Jew, not an oblique reference I think to the decimation and exile of our ancestors. Finding long lost relatives, displaced by generations and oceans is cause for great joy in any time. As we sit down for seder tonight the great great great grandchildren of Abraham and Rachel, of Lodz Poland, will drink to their memory and to you and your family for good health and long and fulfilled lives. We owe you a great deal for making this connection.

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