Arleen Sorkin, Harley Quinn Voice Actor, Dead at 67

Arleen Sorkin, the voice actor who originated the DC character of Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series, has died at 67. According to The Hollywood Reporter, she passed away on Thursday, August 24th.

DC Studios co-chairman James Gunn confirmed the news on Saturday night, sharing via Instagram: “Rest in Peace, Arleen Sorkin, the incredibly talented original voice of Harley Quinn, who helped to create the character so many of us love. Love to her family and friends.”

Arleen Sorkin was born on October 14th, 1955 in Washington, DC. She began her stage career working in a comedy troupe and cabaret throughout the ’70s, and eventually landed her breakthrough role on the daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives in 1984, where she went. on to earn two Daytime Emmy nominations in 1988 and 1989. Remaining on the cast until 1990, Sorkin’s wisecracking and wacky character Calliope Jones served as the direct inspiration for Harley Quinn on the DC’s Batman: The Animated Series.

Quinn was an original character developed specifically as a henchman for The Joker on the children’s animated show, and Sorkin made her debut in a 1992 episode titled “Joker’s Favor.” Although the appearance was meant to be a one-off, the character’s positive reception caused Sorkin to become a fixture in the Batman universe and she returned for eight more episodes through 1994. She would reprise the role in animated programs such as The New Batman Adventures, Gotham Girls, and Justice League, while appearing across mediums in films like 2000’s Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and video games like 2009’s Batman: Arkham Asylum. Sorkin’s final credit as Harley Quinn was the DC Universe Online video game in 2011.

Elsewhere, Sorkin appeared on the FOX sitcom Duet from 1987 to 1989 and co-wrote the screenplay for the 1997 Jennifer Aniston film Picture Perfect. In 2011, she received a Peabody for her work on the documentary Bhutto about the former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in 2007.

Sorkin is survived by her husband, television writer-producer Christopher Lloyd, and two children.

Mark Hamill, who gave a similarly definitive portrayal of The Joker on Batman: The Animated Series, shared his condolences via Twitter, writing, “Not just a wonderful talent, but a truly wonderful person. I’m grateful not only to have worked with her, but to have been her friend.”

Tara Strong, who assumed the vocal duties of Harley Quinn on later animated projects, shared, “She was the inspiration & the heart & soul of this iconic character.” She later added in regards to taking on the role that Sorkin was “unbelievably gracious to me in the press after stepping into her glorious boots.” Read more reactions below.