Arleen Sorkin, the inspiration and original voice of Batman character Harley Quinn, has passed away at the age of 67.
A representative for her husband, producer and screenwriter Christopher Lloyd, confirmed she succumbed to multiple sclerosis Sunday. The family has asked that anyone wishing to honor Sorkin to donate to the MS Society.
Sorkin was a “Days of Our Lives” actress and college friend of Paul Dini, who co-created Harley Quinn with Bruce Timm, via Entertainment Weekly.
Dini previously described how Sorkin helped inspire the making of Harley Quinn while he was working on Batman: The Animated series, where the character debuted.
He noted Sorkin’s abilities stating, “She is a very funny talent, kind of a live wire.”
“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,” he went on.
It was around this time that Sorkin appeared as a sassy court jester in an episode of “Days of Our Lives,” and when Dini saw it, he remembered thinking, “Well, there she is. She should run around with the Joker dressed like that.”
Sorkin was only supposed to play Harley Quinn in one episode of the Batman cartoon in 1992 called “Joker’s Favor,” but it did so well that she was brought back for multiple episodes.
The character was also such a hit she became a staple in the DC universe. Sorkin voiced her in multiple video games and other animated series.
DC Studios co-CEO James Gunn paid a tribute to Sorkin on Instagram stating, “Rest in Peace, Arleen Sorkin, the incredibly talented original voice of Harley Quinn, who helped to create the character so many of us love.”
Sorkin’s family issued a statement regarding her passing and her memory, saying, “We will always remember our dear Arleen for her immense generosity of spirit.”
“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,” they added.
The family concluded, “It’s a sad day for us, but a joyous one, too, knowing how many people today are summoning her memory and smiling.”
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