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The Tragic Murder of Child Actress Judith Barsi By Her Father

Around 8:30am on July 27th, 1988, Eunice Daly heard a loud explosion followed by the sight of fire emanating from her neighbor’s property, while she was out tending to her garden. Police arrived at 22100 Michale Street Canoga Park in the West Hills of California to the shocking double murder and suicide of 10-year-old Judith Barsi, her mother Maria, and her father Jozeph Barsi.

Judith Barsi was a successful child actress who appeared on many movies such as Jaws: The Revenge and Fatal Vision and television shows such as Cagney and Lacey, where she played the character of a abused child, Growing Pains, and Cheers. Judith’s first commercial was for Donald Duck Orange Juice and would later go to produce 72 commercials in total.

Judith is also well known for her voice acting of ‘Ducky‘ from the Land Before Time and her work in All Dogs Go To Heaven.

Both Judith Barsi and her mother Maria was for many months were being abused physically and emotionally by the father of József Barsi. József, known as ‘Arizona Joe’ immigrated to the United States after fleeing his home country of Hungary after the 1956 Soviet occupation and revolts. We know not much about his upbringing besides that he was not cared for by his biological parents and grew up in a “miserable childhood” in the industrial part of Hungary. Newspapers claim that Joe was family man and even told his brother-in-law “if the family life is gone, then life is not worth living.”

Joe’s first marriage was to a woman named Klara and together they had two children, Barna born in 1957, and Agi, born in 1958. Sources claim that Joe Barsi became an alcoholic only when immigrating to America, and this is where he developed into the abusive husband he later became. Klara, fearing for her family’s safety, filed for divorce and took the two kids to live in Arizona. Joe Barsi followed the family out there and eventually met his second wife and the mother of Judith, Maria Virovacz.

Maria Virovacz was from a rural university town in Hungary which she also fled in 1956, eventually ending up in California where she met Joe when she was a waitress.

On the day of Judith Barsi’s murder she was supposed to attend an appointment with her agent and Hanna Barbera Inc. Judith’s agent, Ruth Hansen, calls the home to check on her client but the father picked up the phone and told her “They went to San Diego. A black car took them away. I’m just here to get my things and say goodbye to my little girl.”

Around midnight on July 27th, 1988, the father Joe took a .38 caliber revolver and walked into his 10-year-old daughter’s room. He placed the barrel of the revolver under Judith’s right ear and pulled the trigger, killing her instantly. Joe then murdered his wife as she was in the hallway to see what was happening. Joe didn’t kill himself until the next day, after talking to Ruth Hansen on the phone, burning both Judith’s and Maria’s body with gasoline before finally turning the gun on himself. Police found the father dead in the family garage with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.

 

Hosted by
Jon Perry

Hey y'all I'm the main story teller on our podcast episodes. You can suggest stories for me to cover by leaving a comment on any post on this site, which I will see and respond to. If you want to listen and subscribe to the podcast just search Talk Murder To Me in any podcasting app. Thanks for reading, please share!

  • I’m watching you three on the tube right now, love itt. Before this i used to pretend i was drinking with the gang, nowwww, it’s for real. I wanna send you guys the ingredients for my own drink recipe. Tell me you’ll make them and have them on the show and I’ll send them. Also where to send it, lol. Have a great night, thanks for making mine awesome! 🙂

  • Hello you lovely-lovely people ~ I was listening to this episode this morning (child star murdered by her father), and within this episode Jen was talking about the random thoughts that pop into her brain. I, too, have the ability to have random thoughts pop into my brain. For example, once when I was sitting in a management meeting at work, I busted into a lecture on how to do CPR on a rabbit. Another example, I was in a training meeting for a new software program and the trainer said there would be hiccups along the way . . . Well, thankfully I had just listened to your Hiccup Girl story and I asked the team “did you know Hiccup Girl was convicted of murder?” After they looked at me, stunned, they bust out laughing asking me where these “random thoughts” come from. What can I say? . . . . . . I’m a wealth of random information at random times . . .
    Love Love Love your show . . . When is Gouhl coming out?
    Jayne Orth
    PS: Jen and Nicole are my favorite 🙂

  • Is it just me or does anyone else have issues listening to any other podcast? These 3 are my jam!! Love love love Talk murder to me! Keep up the very entertaining podcast guys!! You are fantastic!!!

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