When a big celebrity dies a correspondingly big media hubbub takes place and even long after the event, the celebrity gets mentioned or drawn back into the public’s attention, because such is the case with superstars, especially if their death was out of the ordinary in any way.
Not so with minor celebrities or one hit wonders (with a few exceptions). They have their moments of glory in the light and then are forgotten, erased from the public’s thoughts which turn instead to a newer such one hit wonder, Internet celebrity or minor celebrity or to the latest doings of a superstar.
However, some of these now relatively forgotten cases warrant a look back and remembrance due to their intriguing particularities and the fact that they the demise of Judith Barsi shocked the entertainment business at the time and is an eloquent exponent of the tragedy of such cases. Hers will be discussed below first.
1. Judith Barsi
Or Judith Eva Barsi by her full name, was born in 1978 in Los Angeles, California and quickly became a successful child actor, which is what her mother had been hoping all along and training her towards.
Still, getting her first role at age 6 is an impressive performance, especially if you take into consideration that the role she played was that of a toddler of 3. Which is explicable because Judith Barsi was petite, considerably smaller and younger looking than children her age.
This would get her further appearances in commercials and on TV (more than 70 in total) as characters 2-3 years or so younger than her real age.
Her petiteness seemed to even manifest itself in her voice, giving her a clear bright innocent tone which directors of animated movies quickly took note of, leading to her being cast to play the Land Before Time Ducky character, a small energetic, innocent, well-intended dinosaur for which she ultimately became famous along with her last role as Anne-Marie in All Dogs Go To Heaven (another animated character which she lent her voice to).
Unfortunately, if you search the Internet for “Judith Barsi death” or “Judith Barsi murder” you will find “Judith Barsi father” coming up in the results, because that’s how she died, at the hands of her father who during her short life became increasingly paranoid and jealous of her, subjecting his poor young daughter and her mother to psychological and physical abuse at an ever increasing rate and intensity.
This led to Judith exhibiting worrying signs of the abuse like plucking out all of her eyelashes, gaining weight and breaking down psychologically, an episode of the latter being witnessed by her agent too.
Her tragic death came when her deranged father ultimately decided to act on his threats to her and her mother and shot them both one night in 1988 afterwards burning the bodies and then shooting himself in the garage.
The really frustrating part is that he had threatened to kill them both and burn down the house before, there was even a suspended Child abuse investigation going on, suspended because Maria, his wife and Judith’s mother had been planning to divorce him but hesitated because of the legal complications.
Too bad this sealed both her fate and her daughters when József Barsi got over his hesitations and performed his baffling, heinous and shocking deeds.
2. Jeremy Lusk
Was an American professional motocross rider born in 1984 in San Diego, California. His interest in motorcycles went back to his childhood and this motivation coupled with discipline and rigorous training led him to win several motocross awards, among which the gold medal at the X Games Mexico and Bronze at the Moto X World Championship, both in 2008.
In fact, 2008 seems to be the year when his career picked up considerably, with the promise of fame and recognition for his then 4 years of efforts dedicated to his trade (he started when he was 19).
But, as it is wont to do, tragedy struck a year later in 2009 in Costa Rica at the X Knights moto cross competition, as he attempted to perform a trick called “Heart Attack Indian Air Backflip”, a move which involves reversing the positions of the rider and motorcycle while airborne, with the rider on the bottom with his head down, motorcycle at the top with the wheels up, while the rider holds on to the bike with his feet and extends his hands in the air and all the while with a view to returning to the original position with the rider on top, before landing.
As you can tell from the description alone, it is an extremely difficult move to perform with zero tolerance for misalignment, timing etc.
Sadly, Jeremy Lusk didn’t manage to pull back from the flip and landed while still partially under the bike, which led to him suffering severe brain damage. He died of heart and lung failure after 5 hours of surgery by which doctors attempted to save his life but were unable to.
If you ask why didn’t anyone stop him from performing this trick if it was sure to kill him or why didn’t they at least accept the result, you should take into account that he had performed the trick before successfully more than once. Although he once before failed the landing in 2007 but managed to deal with the impact in such a way to avoid injuries.
So, it wasn’t a suicidal trick, just a really dangerous one. Which goes to show that complexity and risk are not assuaged by past successes and should be taken into account with the appropriate gravity each and every time. With the very valid possibility of not accepting the risks if they are too great compared to the benefits
3. Owen Hart
It’s no secret that wrestling matches are not actual combat bouts and that the wrestlers in the ring are mostly fit actors. In fact, the wrestling industry thrives on this business philosophy, with its over the top performances and larger than life characters.
So you can imagine the shock of the audience when they quickly discovered that wasn’t the case in 1999 at the Over The Edge event.
The headliner was Canadian Owen Hart, intercontinental champion (twice), King of The Ring (1994), World Tag Team Champion (four times) and a member of the then World Wrestling Federation, currently World Wrestling Entertainment.
As each event and match is heavily scripted (a fact acknowledged for the first time publicly by Vince McMahon, WWE owner, in 1989), so was the one in which Owen Heart was supposed to star. It involved him being lowered from above the ring using a harness to make for a spectacular entrance. Then he was supposed to seemingly get tangled in the line holding him (part of the script) and then angrily manage to set himself loose only to fall flat, for laughs.
This setting loose, of course, involved a quick release mechanism which he would operate to untangle and “break free”. It is not clear exactly why, but the mechanism released him while he was still far above the floor, at about 78 feet. He fell hard and suffered lethal injuries to his chest and died of internal bleeding.
4. Joe Delaney
This story features tragedy and heroism combined. Because Joe Delaney didn’t think about his more than promising NFL career for one second when he jumped to the aid of three children.
To explain, Delaney was a football player from Henderson, Texas destined to be great “with a capital G” by the words of Elvin Bethea (a Hall of Fame inductee himself), with numerous awards and records at the start of his career, including being voted AFC Rookie of the Year in 1981 and being accepted, as a rookie, to Pro Bowl.
Everything was aligned and going great for Joe Delaney, up to the point when he visited the Critter’s Creek amusement park in Monroe, Louisiana.
Due to what now seems like gross misconduct and a disregard for safety regulations, water had accumulated in a hole or excavation left after construction work. And three children thought it was a place to swim, despite Delaney reportedly warning the children there not to go swimming in that particular water hole, because it’s not part of the facilities for park customers.
Still, when he heard them panicking and screaming for help as they were drowning he jumped in to save them, despite not knowing to swim. He manged to help one get to safety, one died in the emergency room later while the last boy and him died there. A sad and sudden end to a man confirmed to have been a helping hand all his life by many who knew him.