Manage episode 292764462 series 2077470
Ten year-old Judith Barsi was a bona fide, in-demand child actor in the 1980s. Between her fifth and tenth birthdays she appeared in 72 commercials and dozens of television movies and series. And her acting abilities and professional demeanor, even at such a young age, made it clear to everyone who worked with her that young Judith was destined for even greater things as she grew up. Sadly, Judith’s life ended not even one month past her tenth birthday. And the circumstances were nothing short of tragic. The only child of Maria and Joseph – immigrant parents who came to the United States from Hungary – Judith’s talents were noticed by Maria early on. Joseph, who worked as a plumbing contractor, never encouraged Judith’s career the way Maria did, even though by 1988 it had been Judith’s income that had enabled the family to purchase – for cash – a lovely home in the San Fernando Valley suburbs of Los Angeles. And by that time Joseph’s non-support had turned dark. He was now drinking heavily, and had begun verbally and emotionally abusing Maria and Judith. The more successful Judith became, it seemed, the more twisted and verbally violent her father became. It all ended on July 25, 1988 when Joseph became one of a tragically long line of family annihilators – shooting young Judith in the head as she slept, then Maria as she rushed in to see what was going on. He then lit the house on fire, walked into the garage, where he shot and killed himself. And all of that is awful enough – but what really fueled Melissa’s ire about this case is what happened 29 years after Joseph Barsi’s murder/suicide rampage: A 2017 article in, of all places, a home design magazine. Listen in as Melissa details the short lives and crushing deaths of two beautiful souls – a mother and daughter who did not deserve their fate – and the strange era in which we live that somehow diminishes everything to the level of kitsch.