Arleen Sorkin, the original voice and inspiration behind the DC Comics character harley quinn, is dead. She was 67 years old.
Her death was confirmed to USA TODAY on Sunday by Christopher Silbermann, the agent for Sorkin’s husband, producer and writer Christopher Lloyd. The actress died of multiple sclerosis.
“We will always remember our dear Arleen for her immense generosity of spirit,” Sorkin’s family said in a statement. “Talented, yes, and tenacious too, as evidenced by her tenacious decades-long battle 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 and of her mother, brothers Robert and Arthur, as well as the countless other children, young and old, whom she has taken under her beautiful wing over the years.”
The family added: “It’s a sad day for us, but also joyful knowing how many people today remember his memory and smile.”
James Gunn, Co-CEO of DC Studios posted a tribute to the actress on Instagram on Saturday, including an image of Sorkin and her animated Harley Quinn.
“Rest in Peace, Arleen Sorkin, the incredibly talented original voice of Harley Quinn, who helped create the character so many of us loved,” Gunn wrote. “Love to his family and friends.”
Mark Hamill, who starred alongside Sorkin as The Joker, posted a tribute on X (formerly Twitter). “Devastated to learn that we have lost the brilliant Arleen Sorkin. Not just a wonderful talent, but a truly wonderful person. I am grateful to not only have worked with her, but also to have been her friend,” wrote Hamill. “I send my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Harley Quinn made her debut in “Batman: The Animated Series” in 1992. She was originally only supposed to star in one episode before the character became her own villain.
“Batman” writer Paul Dini was inspired by seeing his friend Sorkin in “Days of Our Lives” and “Duet,” playing a “very lively, wacky, bubbly blonde,” Dini said in an interview with yahoo in 2016.
“So when I proposed Harley, I asked (Arleen): ‘Do you want to do the voice?’ And she said, ‘Yeah.’ We brought her in, it was her first voiceover and she did a wonderful job,” he recalled.
Strong remembered Sorkin on Saturday X as a “beautiful and talented goddess“.
“She was the inspiration, heart and soul of this iconic character,” Strong added, noting that she “was in awe” of the character.
In addition to Sorkin’s work as Harley Quinn, the Washington, DC native rose to fame for her recurring role as Calliope Jones on “Days of Our Lives.”
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Her other acting credits include appearances in “Duet”, “Ted & Venus”, “I Don’t Buy Kisses Anymore” and an appearance in “Fraiser”, produced by her husband Christopher Lloyd.
Sorkin was also a writer and producer for the shows “How to Marry a Millionaire” and “Fired Up.”
She is survived by her husband Lloyd, whom she married in 1995, and their two children.