<i> From United Press International </i>

A widow and her family who say they lost $20,000 in savings invested on the strength of Jack Klugman’s reputation have sued the actor over a failed gourmet popcorn shop.

Alice Staley of Milford contends in the suit that the family paid for a franchise for Jack’s Corn Crib, a store that bears Klugman’s name, but did not receive a location, supplies or training.

The suit seeks $50,000 in damages from Klugman and two Fairfield County businessmen. Klugman, who starred in the television shows “The Odd Couple” and “Quincy,” maintains that he and a co-defendant also were victims.

The actor and Malvin Jacobson of Westport already had filed federal suits against Jerry Hammer of Redding, who started the popcorn company with them.


Staley’s complaint names Klugman, Jacobson and Hammer, but Jacobson’s lawyer says his client left the company two months before the Staleys inquired about a franchise.

The suit, filed in March in Superior Court, said there were more than one dozen Jack’s Corn Crib stores operating. They sell 28 flavors of popcorn, including pina colada, pizza, licorice and watermelon, using a popcorn oil developed by the company, the suit said.

Among papers filed with the court is a letter from Klugman to the Manhattan office of Jack’s Corn Crib denying virtually any involvement in the business and disclaiming responsibility.

Alice Staley said after her husband died in 1982, she decided to invest a large part of her savings in a business that could be operated with her son, a Milford firefighter, and two daughters.