Arleen Sorkin, veteran actress and the original voice and inspiration behind the popular DC character Harley Quinn, has passed away. She was 67.
The news was announced last night. Sorkin’s credits span numerous sitcoms and other TV series throughout the ‘80s, but her biggest break came in the launch of 1992’s Batman: The Animated Series. Creator Paul Dini wanted to introduce a new character to serve as the Joker’s one-off sidekick. After watching an episode of Days of Our Lives featuring a dream sequence of Sorkin playing a medieval court jester, Dini found his inspiration and contacted Sorkin with the intention of having her play this new villain for a single appearance. Her now-iconic portrayal of Harley Quinn resonated with fans, and she became the breakout character of the show. Harley Quinn became so popular that she made her DC comic debut just a year later, in 1993, before becoming a canonical character in 1999.
Devastated to learn we’ve lost the brilliant Arleen Sorkin. 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. 💔 pic.twitter.com/g1Mb3BWoKn
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) August 27, 2023
Sorkin would continue to voice Harley Quinn over the next 20 years in various Batman series and other shows in the DC Animated Universe, including Static Shock and Justice League. In video games, Sorkin would reprise the role of Harley in Batman: Vengeance and, perhaps most famously, in the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham Asylum (Tara Strong would take over the role in the sequels). Sorkin’s final video game appearance as Harley was 2012’s DC Universe Online.
We’re deeply saddened to hear that we have lost the incredible Arleen Sorkin, who voiced Harley Quinn in Batman: Arkham Asylum, and originated the role of Harley in Batman: The Animated Series. Our thoughts are with her loved ones and her millions of fans.
— Rocksteady Studios (@RocksteadyGames) August 27, 2023
Game Informer extends its condolences to Sorkin’s family and loved ones.