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Subject: ARCHIVE: July 25, 1988 ~Ill-fated child actress Judith Barsi, who enjoyed some success in her brief life in some 50-100 commercials, TV films and series like "Punky Brewster", "Cheers", and "St. Elsewhere" in her short 4 years career, before she was murdered along with her mother, by Judith's her father, before killing himelf. Judith was 9 years old. ...
American child actress of the 1980s. Barsi began her career in television, making appearances in commercials and television series as well as in the films Jaws: The Revenge, The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go to Heaven, providing the voices for animated characters in the latter two. She and her mother, Maria, were killed in July 1988 as a result of a double murder–suicide perpetrated in their home by her father, József Barsi.
Family history …
Barsi’s father, József, fled Communist Hungary after the 1956 Soviet occupation. He relocated to New York in 1964 and then to California, where he met Maria Virovacz, who was also a Hungarian immigrant who escaped the Soviet occupation. They married and then moved to Los Angeles, California where, on June 6, 1978, Barsi was born. Barsi had half-siblings from her father's first marriage.
Maria Barsi began grooming her daughter to become an actress and at the age of five, she was discovered at a skating rink. Barsi's first role was in Fatal Vision, playing Kimberley MacDonald. She went on to appear in more than seventy commercials and guest roles on television. As well as her career in television, she appeared in several films, including Jaws: The Revenge, and provided the voices of Ducky in The Land Before Time, and Anne-Marie in All Dogs Go to Heaven.
...By the time she started fourth grade, Barsi was earning an estimated $100,000 a year, which helped her family buy a three-bedroom house in West Hills, Los Angeles. As she was short for her age—she stood 3 ft 8 in (1.12 m) at age 10—she began receiving hormone injections at UCLA to encourage her growth. Her petiteness led casting directors to cast her as children that were younger than her actual age. Her agent was quoted in The Los Angeles Times as saying that when she was ten, "she was still playing 7, 8."
Abuse and murder …
As Barsi’s career success increased, József Barsi, an alcoholic, became increasingly angry and would routinely threaten to kill himself, his wife and daughter. His drinking led to three arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol. In December 1986, Maria reported his threats and physical violence toward her to the police. After the police found no physical signs of abuse, she decided not to press charges against him.
After the incident with the police, József reportedly stopped drinking, but continued to threaten Maria and Judith. His various threats included cutting their throats as well as burning down the house. He also reportedly hid a telegram informing Maria that a relative in Hungary had died, in an attempt to prevent her from leaving the United States with Judith. The physical violence continued, with Barsi telling a friend that her father threw pots and pans at her, resulting in a nosebleed. As a result of his abuse, Judith Barsi began gaining weight and exhibited disturbing behavior, such as plucking out her eyelashes and pulling out her cat's whiskers. After she broke down in front of her agent during a singing audition for All Dogs Go to Heaven, she 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 begin 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 from him. Maria's friends urged her to follow through with the plan, but she hesitated due to her fear of losing the family home and belongings.
Judith was last seen riding her bike on the morning of July 25, 1988. That evening, József shot her in the head while she was sleeping, and then murdered Maria. He then spent the next two days wandering around the house, and said during a phone conversation with Barsi’s agent the next night that he intended to move out for good and just needed time to "say goodbye to my little girl". Following the phone call, he poured gasoline on the dead bodies and set them on fire before heading to the garage and shooting himself in the head with a .32 caliber pistol.
On August 9, 1988, Barsi and her mother were interred
at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Los Angeles. …
Barsi’s final film, All Dogs Go to Heaven, in which she provided the speaking voice of Anne-Marie, was released in November 1989. In an interview, Don Bluth, the director of both The Land Before Time and All Dogs Go To Heaven, praised her as being "absolutely astonishing. She understood verbal direction, even for the most sophisticated situations". Bluth stated he intended to feature her extensively in his future productions. The closing credits song Love Survives was dedicated in her memory.