Arleen Sorkin, the original voice of Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series, has died.
Arleen Sorkin, who remains the definitive Harley Quinn to children of the nineties thanks to her work on Batman: The Animated Series, has died. Fellow voice actor Neil Kaplan first broke the news on Twitter (X):
It broke my heart to hear… the original voice of Harley Quinn, Arlene Sorkin has passed away.
I adored her work as HQ & as Calliope in “Days of Our Lives.” pic.twitter.com/QtypvmvNUX
— Neil Kaplan – Voice Actor (@NeKap) August 26, 2023
No news yet on what the cause of death was. Sorkin was 67.
Of course, Sorkin’s portrayal of Harley Quinn is seen by many as one of Batman: The Animated Series’ most iconic voice roles, being right up there with Mark Hamill’s Joker and Kevin Conroy’s Batman. In recent years, the character has been played in live action by Margot Robbie and (soon) Lady Gaga in Joker Folie a Deux and voiced by Kaley Cuoco on the HBO Max animated series. However, many still consider Sorkin the definitive take on the part. This figures, given that Sorkin was the model for the character’s creators, Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Apparently, Dini knew Sorkin from college and saw her playing a jester on an episode of Days of Our Lives – and thus, history was made!
In addition to voicing Harley Quinn, Sorkin acted in 420 (!) episodes of the daytime soap Days of Our Lives and was a writer on the NBC comedy Fired Up. Sorkin voiced Harley Quinn from Batman: The Animated Series up to 2012, with her last credit for the role being in a video game. When Robbie first played the role in Suicide Squad, she cited Sorkin’s work on The Animated Series as one of the inspirations for her performance. Indeed, the high-pitched Brooklyn accent Sorkin gave the character has become a defining trait. It’ll be interesting to see if Lady Gaga follows the tradition in Folie a Deux.
Indeed, Arleen Sorkin’s performance as Harley Quinn is one I doubt any of us will ever forget. She was terrific and will always hold a special place in the hearts of Batman fans everywhere.