The Death of Judith Barsi

Judith Barsi

June 6, 1978 – July 25, 1988


Judith was a child actress who had appeared in dozens television shows, commercials andfeature films. Judith was in Jaws IV – The Revenge with Lorraine (myhusband runs this joint, and I’m gonna be a star dammit!) Gary. Roy Scheiderchose not to reprise his role as Chief Brodyin this one. I spent a couple of hours with Roy a while back. A very nice, friendly man, who happens to be goodfriends with Helen (I am not a dyke) Hunt. You know, I would pay to see every single Jaws movie, even ifthey made Jaws 25. I love those flicks. Anyway, on to Judith.

One of the television films Judith was in was called Fatal Vision, about alittle girl murdered by her father. Art imitates life, imitates art.

Judith’s mother came from Hungary in 1956. She ditched the land of the Gabors and came to America where she met aguy named Jozsef, who was also from Hungary. He threw money around, charmed thepants off her and they married and had Judith.  

From what I gather, Maria (the mom) wanted to be an actress (as most stage mothers do). Judith was discovered in an ice skating rink and began her career.  Maria relished theattention she received via her daughter. I’m not saying Maria was a bad person,just neurotic.   Jozsef was the bad guy here.

Jozsef was a nasty piece of work. A real bully. I fucking hate bullies. They are the most horrible people in the world. When Judith became very successful, Jozsef went intooverdrive and really laid the abuse on. Forinstance, before Judith went to the Bahamas to film Jaws IV, Jozsef held a knife up to hisdaughter and told her,”If you decide not to come back, I will cut your throat.”Psycho.

By 1988, Judith was pulling in $100,000 a year. They bought a nice three bedroom house in theValley One of the first things Jozsef did was erect a fence around the place. Thefamily kept to themselves, but Maria didsocialize with a few of the neighbors, and other stage mothers.

Sadly, everyone knew what a dick Jozsef was. Maria would constantly complain topeople that Jozsef abused them.  She spoke of how he threatened to killthem and burn the house down.  He was a mean drunk. People triedto intervene, but to no avail. When Judith started showing outward signs of odd behavior (she plucked her own eyebrows out),it was recommended that she see a shrink. When Judith told the shrink about the abuse at home, alarm bellsrang.  Theshrink told Maria to call the authorities. Maria did, but not much was done. Jozsef agreed to a divorce, and Maria toldpeople that everything was “under control”.

Guess what.

About 8:30 in the morning of July 27, 1988 a neighbor heard a shot come from thehouse followed by smokebillowing out. She called 911 and thought, “he finally killed them.”

Judith was sleeping in her nightgown in her canopied bed just a few feet from the pink television set herfather bought her as an apology for yanking her by the hair. She was mercifully asleep when he shot her in thehead.  Maria heard the shot and came running, still in her own nightgown. He blew her brains out in the hallway.

Jozsef then dowsed the bodies in gasoline and set them on fire.Then he walked into the garage and blew his brains out.  Too bad he didn’tdo that first.  Dick.


Apparently, he did not dowseJudith with gasoline, because friend of Todd Manning sends usthis rather graphic, and surprisingly un gory picture of Judith’s wound. As always, if you are easily made oogy by this stuff, do NOT click here. Thank you Todd.

October 2002 friend E.J.Fleming sends us this:  Actually, her father did try to burn the bodies. That’s what got the police to the house.  The smoke from the garage gotnoticed.  He fell on top of the ‘pile,’ actually, and his body got theworst of the fire.  I have copies of the original L.A. Times articlessomewhere; they all mention the attempt at burning the body. 

Wow EJ, as usual, thanks.

On August 9, there was a funeral at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills.  Six uniformed pallbearerscarried the white caskets of Maria and Judith to their unmarked graves.  I don’t know what happened to the father,nor do I care really.

Her last role was the voice of the lead human role in All Dogs Go To Heaven.

As ever, much gratitude to Steve Goldstein for the photographs, and Mike Steen for the deathcertificate.  I didn’t know who this girl was, until a few findadeath friends suggested the story.  

August 2004 – To any of you that donated dosh for Judith’s headstone, the amount has been raised.  You shouldfeel good.  The kid deserved at least that.  Her memorial page isbelow.

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