Famous for his role as Isaac Chroner in the 1984 horror movie Children of the Corn, Franklin is also known for his portrayal of Cousin Itt in the 1991 movie The Addams Family and in its 1993 sequel Addams Family Values.
In the early 1980s, he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in theatre from the University of Illinois.
Suffering throughout his childhood years with growth hormone deficiency syndrome, he grew to an adult height of just five feet.
Born John Paul Salapatek, he grew up in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. With one of his cousins, Tim Sulka, Franklin co-wrote the screenplay for the sixth Children of the Corn film (666: Isaac's Return).
He appeared with Steve Guttenberg in the 1997 television movie Tower of Terror.