Monday, July 25, 2011

Judith Barsi (1978-1988)

József and Maria Barsi fled the Soviet crackdown on the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and settled in Los Angeles. He worked as a plumber. She wished to be an actress and transferred those dreams to her only child, Judith Eva Barsi. Judith was discovered at an ice skating rink at age five and went on to star in over 70 commercials, over a dozen television episodes, and ten films. Those movies include Jaws: The Revenge, All Dogs Go To Heaven, and the one she is best remembered for, The Land Before Time, where she provided the voice of the sweet and naive parasaurolophus Ducky and her trademark "Yep! Yep! Yep!"

One of Judith's roles was a miniseries called Fatal Vision, where her character is killed by her unhinged father. This would prove unfortunately ironic as József was rapidly becoming unhinged herself. He was usually drunk and often paranoid. He physically and mentally abused his family, once giving Judith a bloody nose by throwing a frying pan at her, another time putting a butcher knife to Judith's throat threatening to kill her if she did not return from filming Jaws in the Bahamas.

All of this was not unknown to the outside world. A child psychologist identified the abuse and Child Protective Services attempted to intervene, but Maria would not press charges. On July 25, 1988, József shot Judith and Maria, doused their bodies and their house in gasoline and set it on fire, then shot himself. The bodies were discovered two days later.

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