Arleen Sorkin, the original voice of Harley Quinn from 2012’s Batman: The Animated Series and Days of Our Lives actress, died at the age of 67. Head of DC Studios, James Gunn, shared the news of Sorkin’s death in a post on Instagram.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sorkin suffered from health issues that kept her from acting in recent years, though the article doesn’t actually specify the cause of death.
Arleen Sorkin voiced Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series
Arleen Sorkin voiced Harley Quinn in the 1992 episode of Batman: The Animated Series, titled “Joker’s Favor,” which was originally intended to be a one-episode appearance for the character. However, Sorkin would reprise her role across several different projects, including Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures, Gotham Girls, Justice League, and several other projects.
Paul Dini, the writer of Batman and co-creator of Harley Quinn, was Arlene Sorkin’s friend from college. After being home on sick leave, he caught Sorkin’s performance on an episode of Days of Our Lives, in which she played a harlequin in a dream sequence, which inspired Dini to cast her as Harley Quinn.
The character proved to be a massive hit, and beyond the original episode, Sorking reprised her role eight more times in Batman: The Animated Series, as well as plenty of video games and the aforementioned DC animated projects.
Apart from Harley Quinn, Arleen Sorkin’s other acting credits include Duet, Open House, Dream On, Ted & Venus, I Don’t Buy Kisses Anymore, and Frasier. From 1990 to 1992, she co-hosted America’s Funniest People alongside Dave Coulier. She also served as a writer and producer on the TV shows How to Marry a Billionaire and Fired Up, co-wrote the 1997 film Picture Perfect, and penned two episodes for Tiny Toon Adventures.
However, her performance in Days of Our Lives, which actually landed her the role of Harley Quinn, scored her two Emmy Nominations for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series in 1988 and 1989.
She held a permanent role in Days of Our Lives from 1984 to 1990, though she reprised her role during several guest appearances in 1992, 2006, and 2010—yes, that’s right, the series first aired in 1965, and it’s currently celebrating its 14,430th episode, and renewal through September 2025.
Arleen Sorkin was Calliope Jones on Days of Our Lives spanning 26 years and 427 episodes
Born on October 14, 1955, in Washington, Sorkin’s career began in cabaret in the late 1970s and early 1980s—years before her voicing Harley Quinn—as a member of the comedy group The High-Heeled Women. After her comedy career, she moved on with her portrayal of Calliope Jones in Days of Our Lives and Geneva, an attractive main in Duet, reprising the latter role in the sequel series Open House.
She retired from voicing Harley Quinn after the DC Universe Online video game, which was released in 2011, and she hasn’t reprised her role since.
Arleen Sorkin died on August 24, 2023, at the age of 67, from multiple sclerosis (according to her Wikipedia page). She is survived by her husband, Christopher Lloyd, and her two children, Eli and Owen.