Arleen Sorkin, the voice and inspiration behind the anti-hero Harley Quinn, has died at the age of 67. Courtesy Everett Collection
Arleen Sorkin, the former “Days of Our Lives” star who served as the voice and inspiration for well-known “Batman” antihero Harley Quinn, died Thursday. She was 67.
The actress passed away after a decadeslong battle against multiple sclerosis, a representative for Sorkin’s husband, TV producer and screenwriter Christopher Lloyd, told Entertainment Weekly.
“We will always remember our dear Arleen for her immense generosity of spirit,” the family said in a statement. “Talented, yes, and dogged, too, as evidenced by her tenacious, decadeslong fight with a terrible disease.
“But more than that, she was a loving presence in the lives of her two boys, Eli and Owen; her mother, Joyce; her brothers, Robert and Arthur; and the countless other children, old and young, whom she took under her beautiful wing over the years.”
The statement continued by noting that while the date of Sorkin’s passing marks a sad day, it’s “a joyous one, too, knowing how many people today are summoning her memory and smiling.”
Sorkin made her TV debut as an extra in “Saturday Night Live” in 1982, but her breakthrough role came in 1984 when she appeared as Calliope Jones Bradford on the popular soap opera “Days of Our Lives.”
The gig earned her two Daytime Emmy nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress and she went on to reprise the role several times.
In 1992, Sorkin made her voice-acting debut as Harley Quinn in an episode of “Batman: The Animated Series.”
According to showrunners, fans loved the wise-cracking henchwoman so much that Sorkin was invited to return for eight more episodes as well as being invited to voice the character in several video game adaptations.
Since her debut, Harley Quinn has become a DC staple and has spawned two live-action films where she is portrayed by Oscar nominee Margot Robbie as well as getting her own animated series on Max where she is voiced by Kaley Cuoco.
Director James Gunn posted a tribute to Sorkin on Instagram, praising her for bringing such an iconic character to life.
“Rest in Peace, Arleen Sorkin,” he wrote. “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.”
Mark Hamill, who voiced The Joker opposite Sorkin, also posted a tribute to his on-screen love interest.
“Devastated to learn we’ve lost the brilliant Arleen Sorkin,” wrote the “Star Wars” legend on X (formerly Twitter).
“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.”