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Arleen Sorkin, Voice Of Harley Quinn, Dies At 67

Arleen Sorkin, Voice Of Harley Quinn, Dies At 67

Arleen Sorkin & Harley Quinn
Shutterstock; Courtesy of Warner Bros.

The actor originated the voice of the beloved bi anti-heroine.

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Arleen Sorkin, a veteran actress who starred on Days of Our Lives, Frasier, and was the first to bring bi icon Harley Quinn to life, has passed away. She was aged 67.

Entertainment Weekly reports that a rep for Sorkin’s husband, television producer and screenwriter Christopher Lloyd, confirmed the actress died following a battle with multiple sclerosis.

“We will always remember our dear Arleen for her immense generosity of spirit,” the family shared in a statement. “Talented, yes, and dogged, too, as evidenced by her tenacious, decades-long 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.”

“It’s a sad day for us, but a joyous one, too, knowing how many people today are summoning her memory and smiling,” the statement continued.

The family is asking that donations be made in Sorkin’s honor to the National MS Society.

While Harley Quinn has gone on to become a massively popular character played in live-action by Margot Robbie, and voiced by Kaley Cuoco in the animated series, Sorkin was the first to set the blueprint for the beloved anti-heroine when she made her debut in Batman: The Animated Series in 1992. In the episode “Joker’s Favor”, the audience first met and fell in love with the Clown Prince of Crime’s mischievous sidekick and paramour.

The character was in part inspired by Sorkin, who was an old college friend and co-creator (alongside Bruce Timm) of the Harley Quinn, Paul Dini, who incorporated her Jewish identity and Brooklyn accent into the character. “She is a very funny talent, kind of a live wire,” Dini recalled to Entertainment Weekly. “She can do that snappy blonde Judy Holliday persona very easily, and that was part of her performance style when I came up with the character.”

While Harley Quinn was initially only supposed to appear in one episode, she returned — as did Sorkin as her voice for several more episodes. Sorkin also reprised her role in animated films and video games including Gotham Girls, Justice League, The New Batman Adventures, Static Shock, and Superman: The Animated Series.

Sorkin is survived by her husband Christopher, their two sons, Eli and Owen Lloyd — and the legacy of a beloved character.

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Rachel Shatto

EIC of PRIDE.com

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Dread Central, Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.

Rachel Shatto, Editor in Chief of PRIDE.com, is an SF Bay Area-based writer, podcaster, and former editor of Curve magazine, where she honed her passion for writing about social justice and sex (and their frequent intersection). Her work has appeared on Dread Central, Elite Daily, Tecca, and Joystiq, and she podcasts regularly about horror on the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network. She can’t live without cats, vintage style, video games, drag queens, or the Oxford comma.