Judith Eva Barsi (June 6, 1978 – July 25, 1988) was an American child actress. She began her career in television, making appearances in commercials and guest starring in television shows, and later appeared in films such as Jaws: The Revenge and provided voices for the films The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go To Heaven.
In 1988, after years of physical and mental abuse, her father, József, shot and killed Judith and her mother Maria in a double murder–suicide.
Judith's mother, Maria Barsi, began grooming her daughter to become an actress, and Judith began appearing in commercials at the age of five. After appearing in minor roles, Judith appeared in several films, including Jaws: The Revenge, and provided the voice for the character of Ducky in The Land Before Time.
By the time she entered fourth grade, she was earning an estimated $100,000 a year, which helped her buy the family a three-bedroom house in the West Hills section of Los Angeles.
Family history and death
Judith's father, József, fled Communist Hungary after the 1956 Soviet occupation. He eventually relocated to New York in 1964, and then to California, where he met Maria Virovacz. The two married, and Judith's birth quickly followed in Los Angeles, California, where Judith was raised.
József was plagued throughout his life with alcoholism and low self-esteem. As Judith's career success increased and József's mental illness worsened, József repeatedly threatened to kill Judith and Maria then himself. His alcoholism worsened, and resulted in three separate arrests for drunk driving.
Although he had stopped drinking by December 1986, he continued to threaten and abuse his wife and daughter. After breaking down in front of her agent during a singing audition for All Dogs Go to Heaven, Judith was taken by Maria to a child psychologist, who identified severe physical and emotional abuse and reported her findings to Child Protective Services. The investigation was dropped after Maria assured the case worker that she intended to start divorce proceedings against József and that she and Judith were going to move into a Panorama City apartment she had recently rented as a daytime haven away from József. Several other incidents followed in which József either made additional threats and/or physically abused both Maria and Judith.
On the night of July 25, 1988, József shot Judith in the head while she was asleep in her room, and then shot his wife Maria. József spent the next two days wandering around the house. On July 27, he poured gasoline on the bodies and set them on fire. He then went into the garage and shot himself in the head with a .32 caliber pistol.
On August 9, 1988, Barsi and her mother were interred in unmarked graves at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles. In June 2004, a fund was set up by Barsi's fan club to purchase headstones for their graves. Barsi's final film, All Dogs Go to Heaven, in which she voices the orphaned Anne-Marie, was released in 1989, a year after her death.
Year Title Role Notes 1984
Fatal Vision Kimberly (age 3) Miniseries 1985
Kids Don't Tell Jennifer Ryan Television movie 1985
Do You Remember Love Kathleen Television movie 1985
The New Twilight Zone Gertie Segment: "A Little Peace and Quiet" 1985
There Were Times, Dear Molly Reed Television movie 1985
The Fall Guy Little Girl Episode: "Escape Claus" 1986
Remington Steele Laurie Beth Piper Episode: "Suburban Steele" 1986
Punky Brewster Anna 2 episodes 1986
Trapper John, M.D. Lindsay Christmas Episode: "Life, Death and Dr. Christmas" 1986
Cheers Child #1 Episode: "Relief Bartender" 1986
Cagney and Lacey Shauna Bard Episode: "Disenfranchised" 1986
The New Gidget Little Girl Episode: "It's Only Rock & Roll" 1986
Eye of the Tiger Jennifer Matthews 1986
The Love Boat Christmas angel Episode: "The Christmas Cruise: Part 2" 1987
Destination America Amy Television movie 1987
Slam Dance Bean 1987
Jaws: The Revenge Thea Brody 1987
The Tracey Ullman Show Little Girl Episode #2.3 1988
The Tracey Ullman Show Karen Episode #2.17 1988
St. Elsewhere Debbie Oppenheimer Episode: "The Abby Singer Show" 1988
Growing Pains Young Carol Episodes "Graduation Day" 1988
ABC Afterschool Special Billie Foster Episode: "A Family Again"; Released posthumously 1988
The Land Before Time Ducky Voice; Released posthumously 1989
All Dogs Go to Heaven Anne-Marie Voice; Released posthumously 1992
Growing Pains Young Carol Episode: "The Last Picture Show, part 2" (flashback only)
1.^ Johnson, John; Fuentes, Gabe (1988-08-07). "A Script of Fear: Repeated Threats by Father of Child Actress Carried to Tragic End". latimes.com. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
2.^ "Local News in Brief : Child-Abuse Files Ordered Opened". latimes.com. 1988-08-23. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
3.^ Donnelley, Paul (2005-11-01). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries (3 ed.). Omnibus Press. p. 122. ISBN 1-84449-430-6.
4.^ Barsi, Ági (1999), What will you do?, A Better Life, ISBN 0967169399
5.^ DEATH OF A FAMILY - Judith Barsi's story (240p). Arnold Shapiro Productions. 1989.
6.^ "Girl who appeared on 'Growing Pains' told show's star: My dad says he's going to kill me!". The National Enquirer. 1988-09-16.
7.^ "Inquiry in Barsi Case Dropped Too Soon, Panel Says". The Los Angeles Times. 1988-09-07. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
8.^ "Local News in Brief : Bodies Identified as Child Actress, Mother". latimes.com. 1988-07-29. Retrieved 26 September 2011.
9.^ Fuentes, Gabe (July 28, 1988). "Three Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 10, 2012. 1
0.^ "Child Actress Is Slain, Apparently by Father". The New York Times. 1988-07-30. Retrieved 22 November 2009.
11.^ C. Phillips, Deidre (1988-08-10). "Child actress Barsi, mother buried". Los Angeles Daily News.
12.^ Beck, Jerry (2005). The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. pp. 13–14. ISBN 1-55652-591-5.