photo sharing and upload picture albums photo forums search pictures popular photos photography help login
Don Boyd | all galleries >> Memories of Old Hialeah, Old Miami and Old South Florida Photo Galleries - largest non-Facebook collection on the internet >> Miami Area INDIVIDUALS and GROUPS Historical Photos Gallery - All Years - click on image to view > 1950's and 60's - Zorita the snake charmer
previous | next
1950s and 60s - Zorita the snake charmer
1950s - 60s

1950's and 60's - Zorita the snake charmer

Sunny Isles, Florida

According to old-timer Dick Besola, her establishment was on Collins Avenue north of 163rd Street next to Paul Wood's helicopter operation. Zorita also worked at the Gaiety Night Club which closed in 1959, and other locations during her charming life.

other sizes: small original
comment | share
Don Boyd29-Jun-2013 21:23
I appreciate everyone who takes the time to post their comments and memories on various pages of my site. I thank everyone for participating because it adds to our knowledge of various places and people long ago and the younger folks interested in history will have a much better and accurate vision of what life in Miami's grandest days was really like.

Guest of 29-JUN, I can't thank you enough for giving us a much deeper insight into the real Zorita and her life despite your position in life now. I admire you for advancing yourself educationally and professionally.

If anyone has any old photos of the various clubs or of Zorita and other strippers I would love to have scans of them to put on this site. Please send them, and any pertinent information (who, what, when, where, etc.) to and I will add them. Thank you everyone!

Guest 29-Jun-2013 20:51
I used to work for Zorita in Sunny Isles, Yes, I was a stripper. This was 1967-1971. Yes, she WAS a fantastic person, yes, she hated snakes. I bought her a statue of one once and she hit the roof. I felt awfu! I hadn't known she hated snakes. She loved Lalique crystal and she did indeed raise Persian cats, of which I bought two. She was forever encouraging her girls. When I started college while working for her she insisted I do my homework in the dressing room beween acts. BTW, I am currently an attorney in CT. She had an adopted daughter, Tawny. I went to visit her last
when she lived in Stuart, FL. She caught my 5-year old daughter staring at her and said gruffly, " Why are you staring at me, Kid?" My daughter said, " Cuz you are soooo beautiful" While Zorita accused me of paying my daughter to say that, she knew better and I know how it pleased her. She had a partner, Jackie, and, yes, she was gay. Betty Riley had been a former partner. The corporation that owned her nightclub was named Zorbar, a combination of their names. I'm sure she would be pleased at the recent Supreme Court decision validating gay marriage. Zorita and I talked as recently as 2000 and she was very proud of me for passing the Bar. She said she always knew I would become an attorney from the time I was telling all the girls not to give statements to the cops the time the club got busted. Oh, if any of my clients and friends had any idea of my history!
Guest 04-Aug-2012 23:50
My wife's crazy mother was friends with Zorita. In 1982 she was living in north Florida, and was raising Persian cats [she gave us Clara the cat].....wild...
Don Duffy 01-Nov-2010 23:42
I worked at the Stage Door Deli, next door to the 5 O'Clock Club at 20th st. and Collins in '60 and '61. Zorita was the headliner during most of that time. Some nights I would help with the lights and I believe Sam Heiss was the piano player.
nonniesbrat27-May-2010 01:08
My sister and her date went in to see Zorita in 1956 at the Gaiety. I waited in the car for a couple of hours, and then I saw her, walking out of the building and what I remember most was her very long blond braid. Don't know if it was real but it was long, and she glanced over and kept walking. When my sister came out I was almost hysterical because I HAD SEEN ZORITA IN PERSON!
Guest 24-May-2010 02:41
zorita's club was at 182 block of collins ave, I worked for her in the late 60s checking i d's and we were never there . for beer or liquors orders on sat and by the way she NEVER had a snake at that time, the truth is she hated snakes.she lived in n. bay village and moved rather fast ater the family next door were murdered she moved to stuart and has since died......and yes she was a great lady................
Don Boyd05-Aug-2009 20:37
Charles, thank you for posting that background information for all of us to enjoy.

charles 05-Aug-2009 13:56
My group and I use to frequent Zorita's club,as we were performing at the Seven Seas Lounge at The Castaways,which was across the highway from her nite club,a lot of the strippers would come over to see the shows,so we were invited to come over and be her guest at her club,she was a wonderful lady,and we all became good friends.Sincerely,The Original Chevelles.
Don Boyd16-Mar-2009 19:19
Correct, that was the one that was next to Paul Wood's helicopter sightseeing operation that operated in an adjacent field. Thanks for posting! Don
Guest 16-Mar-2009 17:14
in the early 70s Zorita had her own club on collins in the north Sunny Isles area.
It was part of a small strip (no pun intended) mall.
guest 23-Feb-2009 00:19
To set the record straight, the Gaiety Night Club was on Biscayne Blvd and 78th St in Miami. The Gaiety Night Club closed in 1959 and should not be confused with the Gaiety Theater that opened much later. My father owned the Gaiety Night Club and I have home movies from the late '50's of Zorita in the dressing room and on stage with her snake.
Thom 23-Jul-2008 04:04
I'm an author in Nashville, working on the memoirs of Danny Davis, musician, band leader, Grammy winner, producer (Ray Charles, Connie Francis, Willie Nelson, Herman's Hermits, Waylon Jennings and on and on), and have a story in our book about Danny being in Zorita's backup band at The Famous Door in NYC in the early 50s the night her snake died on stage in the middle of her act.

I'm looking for a photo to use with that chapter. Do you have any suitable ones for use, in exchange for a credit and copy of the book?

Guest 02-Feb-2008 01:13
Zorita performed for years at The Golden Earing, on 79th east of the race track.
Guest 10-Jan-2008 07:13
Zorita was on Biscayne Blvd at 78th St.
Later, on the top floor, a club called "Drumbeatrers" opened for a while in the early 60s. The entertainment was Vince Martin who had a hit recording of "Cindy Oh Cindy". Vince went on to become a fixture in the Folk music scine in Coconut Grove and he remains there there today
Bill Holiday
MEHS '57
Guest 08-Jan-2008 21:35
I remember Zorita at Biscayne Boulevard south of 79th Street. Can't remember the name of the establishment now. When I was a kid there was a saying that went around, "Zorro plus Zorita equals Zorro Junior!
Dave the Guest
Don Boyd15-Aug-2007 18:10
I respectfully suggest you re-read the comments under the photo again, and the comments from Billy Coates. She appeared at more than one establishment in her career. And how do you go north on 79th Street when it runs east and west? Don
Guest 15-Aug-2007 17:22
Guest 21-Jun-2007 18:21
my dad worked for regal beer and on saturdays he worked half days it was the custom back then 5 1/2 day work week and i remember him taking me with him to zorita'a club in sunny isles that was one of his accounts and a good friend of our family -she was a beautiful and wonderful women and she came to a birthday party at our house and did her act with her snakes (clothes on of course) she gave me a little green snake toy she was like a movie star = funny thing first party that there were more fathers there than kids....... go figure