January 23, 2021
“The Land Before Time” late star Judith Barsi was rapidly escalating positions in her Hollywood career when it all came to a gruesome end because of domestic abuse and violence.
Late Judith Barsi was a child TV, film, and voice actor whose promising life and career were abruptly cut short in a horrifying incident that took place in the apartment that she and her ill-fated family used to call home.
Even though Barsi was discovered as an actress at age 5, when she debuted in a TV commercial for Donald Duck Orange Juice, and she went on to accumulate more than 20 credits in a five-year career, she became more famous for her death.
Joanna Kerns, Victor Dimattia, Alan Thicke, and Judith Barsi on the set of "Graduation Day" in 1988. | Image: Getty Images.
Judith made headlines everywhere in July 1988, when she was infamously among the casualties of a murder-suicide case that also took the life of her mother Maria Barsi and her father Jozsef Barsi, who committed the murders.
The terrible outcome for the family came to end years of domestic violence and abuse, on which Maria and Judith were the targets, with the mother struggling to give her daughter a career and as much a normal life as she could.
Judith was born in June 1978, the only child born of the marriage of Maria and Jozsef Barsi, both of them Hungarian immigrants that flew the violence in their country decades prior, establishing in Los Angeles, where the child was born.
Maria and Jozsef escaped the Soviet occupation of Hungary separately in 1956 and met at a Los Angeles restaurant where Maia worked as a waitress. They soon married and later, their only child, daughter Judith, arrived.
As soon as Judith was born, Maria started on her mission to make her daughter a Hollywood star, even if she knew that all the odds were against her, and luck was on her side when Judith was discovered at an ice skating rink at age 5.
As the story goes, Judith was gracefully skating across the ice and was noticed by members of a crew shooting a commercial, which resulted in Judith being hired for her first on-screen appearance, which launched her successful career.
Judith had the advantage of looking much younger than she was, and this helped her acting career take off faster, and after appearing in an impressive number of commercials, she landed her first role in the 1984 miniseries “Fatal Vision.”
Her TV-show debut led to guest appearances in series like “The Twilight Zone,” “The Fall Guy,” “Remington Steele,” “Punky Brewster,” and “Cheers,” and in 1986 she debuted on the big screen on “Eye of the Tiger.”
Judith’s breakthrough movie role was that of Thea in “Jaws IV: The Revenge,” the third sequel to Steven Spielberg’s classic, released in 1987. Before that, she was making about $100,000 a year and had helped her family buy a home in 1985.
Apart from starring in more than 70 commercials and made appearances in important films and TV shows, Judith became a voice actress in 1988, when she voiced the main character Ducky in the animated film “The Land Before Time.”
Judith also famously voiced Anne-Marie in the animated feature “All Dogs Go to Heaven,” which was released in 1989, after the rising star’s tragic death at the hands of her own father on July 25, 1988.
On July 28, 1988, it was reported that Judith and her mother had been found dead at their home in Los Angeles, having been fatally shot by Jozsef while intoxicated, with the latter taking his own life later in the home’s garage.
Judith was 10 years old, Maria was 48, and Jozsef was 55 at the time of their respective deaths. It was their neighbor Mrs. Daly who noticed that something was wrong at the home and called the police.
According to Mrs. Daly and others, Jozsef had been talking about killing his wife and his daughters for a while, but nobody seemed to do anything about those warning signs.
Mrs. Daly shared that Maria had confided in her that her husband became abusive when he drank, and apparently Maria was thinking about getting a divorce, failing to move away earlier, as Mrs. Daly said to have encouraged her to, to no avail.
13 years after the tragic events, the house where they took place was bought by the Bernal family, who was excited to start a new life in the Los Angeles neighborhood without having a clue of what had happened.
As of April 2020, the Bernals continue to live in the property, and the husband and wife actually sleep in the same room where Judith was murdered, and while they only learned about this recently, they admitted that “weird things” happen there.
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