Brickell’s Homewood in Ali Movie in 1977

Dr. James Jackson’s Brickell home was featured in a movie entitled “The Greatest”. The movie was about Muhammad Ali’s life and starred the boxer as himself. Ernest Borgnine starred as Angelo Dundee and James Earl Jones starred as Malcolm X.

Jackson’s home at 1627 Brickell Avenue was built in 1919 and the family moved into it in 1920. The doctor named his residence “Homewood”.

Homewood at 1627 Brickell Avenue

Figure 1: Homewood at 1627 Brickell Avenue

The Jackson family owned the home until they sold it in 1944. Jose Ferre purchased the home in 1957. In the late 1960s, Ferre’s daughter, Mary Ann Ferre Coe, and family acquired ownership of the home until it was sold in March of 1979.

Coe rented the grounds and home to Columbia Pictures in 1977 for a scene in “The Greatest”. The scene was portraying the location of a party after Ali defeated Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Center in 1964. The backyard, and part of the home’s interior, were featured in the scene.

Another local shoot location was the Fifth Street Gym on Miami Beach. Although the gym was still standing when the movie was filmed in 1977, it was shuttered in 1992 and the building was knocked down in 1993.

Homewood, much like the Fifth Street Gym, was razed shortly after the sale of the home in 1979. Mary Ann had hoped to preserve the home, but a law suit and high taxes forced her to sell the historic residence. Built in 1980, The Imperial on Brickell now resides on the site of the former Homewood location.

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  • Cover: Muhammad Ali in the Greatest.
  • Figure 1: Homewood at 1627 Brickell Avenue.