Days of Our Lives star Arleen Sorkin, who was the inspiration and original voice actor for Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series, has died at 67.
Arleen Sorkin, best known for her work on Days of Our Lives, and as the original voice actor for DC Comics’ iconic anti-hero, Harley Quinn, passed away at 67 after suffering health complications.
Unlike most superheroes and supervillains, Harley Quinn is almost unique in that she actually didn’t originate in comic books. Instead, she was an original creation for popular 1990s cartoon Batman: The Animated Series, inspired by and brought to life by Days of Our Lives star Arleen Sorkin.
Batman: TAS writer Paul Dini has said that seeing Sorkin in a jester outfit on Days inspired him to create the character of Harley, so it couldn’t have been more perfect when she came on board to bring her to life.
Sorkin began her television career on the daytime sudser, appearing from 1984 to 1990 in the comedically-tinged role of Calliope Jones. She would bring that same comic energy to her work alongside Mark Hamill’s acclaimed work as the Joker on Batman: TAS.
“Devastated to learn we’ve lost the brilliant Arleen Sorkin,” Hamill posted to X (née Twitter) in tribute. “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. Sending my heartfelt condolences to her family & loved ones.”
Voice actress Tara Strong, who portrayed Batgirl on the series and took over as Harley voice actor in many projects after Sorkin’s retirement, gave credit to her predecessor as the originator of the popular character.
She jumped on X (née Twitter), writing. “Without this gorgeous, talented goddess, Harley Quinn would have never existed. She was the inspiration & the heart & soul of this iconic character. I was in awe as Batgirl watching her alongside Mark Hamill & Kevin. Sending love to her family.”
The character has been portrayed by many women after Sorking, including most notably Kaley Cuoco in the Harley Quinn animated series, Margot Robbie in several feature films and Lady Gaga in the upcoming Joker: Folie à Deux.
Sorkin’s death comes less than a year after the loss of TAS Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy at 66 years old on November 10, 2022.
DC boss James Gunn was among those honoring Sorkin’s legacy and memory, taking to Instagram to share, “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.
Fan tributes poured in after the news of Sorkin’s passing, with many sharing some of her best moments and honoring her legacy as the originator of one of the most popular and beloved comic characters of all time, as well as her other works.
RIP to Arleen Sorkin, the original voice of Harley Quinn, and the reason she’s the beloved character that she is. Below Paul Dini explains how her performance as a Harlequin on Days of Our Lives inspired the creation of Harley, so of course she had to voice her on Batman: TAS. pic.twitter.com/qsrXFjHv5O
Arleen Sorkin gave so many amazing performances as Harley Quinn through the years, but I think her best will always be “Harley’s Holiday.” Her and Kevin Conroy are so great in this final scene. It gets me every time.
Kevin Conroy (November 30, 1955-November 10, 2022) & Arleen Sorkin (October 14, 1955 – August 26, 2023), voices of Batman & Harley Quinn, respectively, at a recording session for ‘#Batman: The Animated Series’ circa 1992. R.I.P to both legends whose work will always be cherished. pic.twitter.com/u4jn9yDkt7
Tonight we say goodbye to Arleen Sorkin, who is best remembered as the original voice of Harley Quinn. She has voiced Harley Quinn from 1992 to 2009 in various TV shows, movies, and games.#RIPArleenSorkinpic.twitter.com/BMuFA2GERj
R.I.P. Arleen Sorkin, the original voice of Harley Quinn. The way Sorkin was able to combine twisted loopiness with a hint of sympathetic sadness is key to what made the character work so well. pic.twitter.com/8AIcMqgpci