Judith Barsi Biography

In show business since the age of four, the blonde and blue-eyed Barsi (born Judith Eva Barsi on June 6, 1978) had logged over 50 television commercials and numerous appearances on TV shows like St. Elsewhere, Punky Brewster, Cagney & Lacey, and Growing Pains by the time she was ten. A pituitary gland problem for which she received hormone injections to spur growth made the child look much younger than age her and, consequently, a casting director's dream. Barsi was six years old when she portrayed "Kimberly," the three-year-old daughter of convicted murderer and former Green Beret doctor Jeffrey MacDonald, in the made-for-television movie Fatal Vision (1984). Theatrical motion pictures, however, were the future and in 1987 she appeared in Slam Dance and Jaws IV: The Revenge. At the time of the tragedy, Barsi's final role (voice work in the animated feature All Dogs Go to Heaven, 1989) had yet to be released. While young Judith's career blossomed, her parents' marriage disintegrated into a daily round of frightening threats issued by Joseph Barsi, a 56-year-old self-employed plumber, against his wife, Maria. Neighbors reported the couple often argued. Urged by a friend to leave her moody alcoholic husband, Maria Barsi confessed she was afraid to do so because he had threatened to kill her and Judith then torch the house. Joe Barsi confided to an associate that he was dissatisfied in the marriage, considered his wife a lousy housekeeper, and darkly intimated that she was driving him crazy. As time passed, life in the Barsi home at 22100 Michale Avenue in northwestern Los Angeles County became increasingly intolerable. Uneasy neighbors commented among themselves about Joe's over-protective ness concerning his daughter and how he never let her go anywhere alone because he was afraid she would run away. Even the young actress' agent at the Harry Gold Talent Agency knew of the domestic discord in the Barsi household. On Friday, July 22, 1988, Maria Barsi had endured enough. Despite Joe's past threats of violence, she informed him of her plans to divorce him immediately. She rented a $700 a month apartment for herself and Judith and planned to cash her daughter's $12,000 tax refund check before he could get his hands on it. Five days later on July 27, a neighbor heard a loud bang at 8:30 A.M. and thought, "He's done it." Minutes later smoke began billowing out of the Barsi home. Neighbors fought the blaze with garden hoses while awaiting the arrival of the fire department. Inside the house, authorities made a series of grisly discoveries that were all too easy for case hardened forensics experts to reconstruct. Joe Barsi had made good on his threat. He shot daughter Judith in the head as she lay in her bed and murdered Maria as she fled down the hallway in terror. He doused both bodies in gasoline, splashed the bedroom and hall, lit it then went into the garage where he shot himself in the head. The killer was found clutching a .32-caliber handgun, the empty gas can three feet away. The cap of the can was discovered in Judith's bedroom. According to her entry on the findagrave website, Judith and her mother share a grave in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. The young actress' plot remained unmarked for 16 years before dedicated fans purchased a marker through a Memorial Fund in 2004. The marker reads: "In Memory of the Lovely Judith Eva Barsi-1978–1988- Our Concrete Angel-Yep! Yep! Yep!"