Judith Barsi (June 6, 1978 – July 25, 1988) was an American child actress. She was small in stature and often played characters younger than her actual age. After years of physical and mental abuse, Barsi and her mother were shot and killed by her father, József, in a murder–suicide.
As Barsi’s career success increased, her father József (pictured with his wife), an alcoholic and unemployed plumber, became increasingly abusive, jealous, and paranoid. He would routinely threaten to kill himself, his wife and daughter. In December 1986, Maria reported the years of threats to the police and also reported that József had hit her in the face and choked her. After police found no physical signs of abuse, Maria eventually decided not to press charges against József.
After the incident, József reportedly stopped drinking but continued to threaten and abuse his wife and daughter. Before leaving to shoot Jaws: The Revenge in the Bahamas, József threatened Barsi with a knife, telling her, “If you decide not to come back, I will cut your throat”. Due to József’s abuse, Barsi began exhibiting disturbing behavior which included plucking out all her eyelashes and pulling out her cat’s whiskers. After breaking down in front of her agent, Barsi was taken to a child psychologist by Maria. The psychologist 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. Friends urged Maria to follow through with the plan, but she resisted reportedly because she did not want to lose the family home and belongings.
On July 25, 1988, József shot Judith in the head while she was asleep in her room. Maria, hearing the gunshot, rushed down the hall, and József shot her as well. József then poured gasoline on the bodies and set them on fire. He later 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 Los Angeles. In June 2004, a fund was set up by Barsi’s fan club to purchase headstones for their graves. Barsi’s marker, placed on August 23, 2004, reads “In Memory of the Lovely Judith Eva Barsi *Our Concrete Angel* Yep! Yep! Yep!” in reference to Martina McBride’s song about child abuse, and Barsi’s character Ducky’s catchphrase from The Land Before Time.