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Harley Quinn voice actress Arleen Sorkin dies at 67

Harley Quinn Screenshot from @dcofficial | DC Comics

Arleen Sorkin, the voice behind Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series, passed away at the age of 67 on Aug. 24.

The DC Comics anti-hero made her debut in the 1992 episode “Joker’s Favor.”

“DC is deeply saddened by the loss of Arleen Sorkin,” the comic company said in a public statement. “Her voice was the first to bring Dr. Harleen Quinzel to life in Batman: The Animated Series. She reprised the role of Harley Quinn many times in animation and video games during her career. Arleen will always be part of the DC legacy and will be missed.”

According to show creators Paul Dini and Bruce Timm, the role was created for Sorkin, who was a friend of Dini. Harley Quinn became so popular among the show’s fans that she was eventually incorporated into the DC Comics Universe.

In 2011, the Harley Quinn comic series boosted her popularity among DC Comics’ most famous characters.

Sorkin’s version of Harley Quinn was intended to be a one-episode character.

Due to popular demand from fans, the Harley Quinn character spanned across multiple DC

Animated Universe spin-offs including “Superman: The Animated Series,” “Gotham Girls,” “Justice League,” ‘Static Shock” and “The New Batman Adventures.” The latter featured an origin episode titled “Mad Love” about how Harley Quinn came to be.

The character was also in the feature film “Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.”

The character was initially known as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychiatrist at Arkham Asylum who meets her patient, the Joker.

She became infatuated with the Joker as she spent more time with him and took up the Harley Quinn persona and her infamous status as the villain’s sidekick.

Sorkin’s fellow “Batman” co-star, Mark Hamill, who voiced the Joker in the animated series, paid tribute to her on social media expressing his condolences.

“Devastated to learn we’ve lost the brilliant Arleen Sorkin,” Hamill said. “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.”

DC Studios CEO James Gunn posted on his Instagram where he shared the news.

“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,” he said.

The world of voice acting was not Sorkin’s ticket to the entertainment industry. She began her career working in comedy as a part of a comedy troupe, Page Six reported.

Outside of comedy, Sorkin was a cabaret performer in the 1970s and 80s.

Sorkin’s first television role was an uncredited role in John Landis’ “Trading Places” in 1983.

Her most notable role came as Calliope Jones in the critically acclaimed “Day of Our Lives” in 1984, which earned her two Emmy nominations for outstanding supporting actress in a drama series in 1988 and 1989.

In addition to acting, Sorkin was a writer and producer on “How to Marry a Billionaire” and ‘Fired Up.” She co-wrote the 1997 film “Picture Perfect” and has writing credits on two episodes of the 1997 cartoon “Tiny Toons Adventures.”

Sorkin’s death comes nearly one year after the passing of Kevin Conroy, who voiced Batman in the animated series among numerous other animated Batman movies, television shows and video games for over 3 decades. Conroy passed away in November 2022 due to complications of intestinal cancer.

Sorkin’s cause of death has not been publicly released. She leaves behind her husband and two children.

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Jahlil Rush 
Jahlil Rush , Production Assistant
Jahlil Rush is a Production Assistant for The Ticker.
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