The iconic voice of Harley Quinn, Arleen Sorkin, has passed away aged 67, following a battle with lung cancer.
Arleen Sorkin, the original voice of Harley Quinn, has died aged 67 following a battle with lung cancer. Sorkin portrayed the Joker’s main squeeze in Batman: The Animated Series and continued in the role in DC Universe Online until 2011. Her performance as the jilted harlequin has since inspired countless cosplayers and was a major contributor in Harley Quinn becoming a fan favourite.
“The wonderfully talented Arleen Sorkin has passed away,” an official social media account for Sorkin’s talent agency, the Dan Talent Company, says. “Arleen was a client for many years and she was a wonderful person and a one-of-a-kind talent.” The cause of death was attributed to complications from lung cancer.
Sorkin’s performance of Harley was so memorable that it not only inspired her character’s design, but she solidified the fan favourite as a bonafide favourite herself. Many actors who followed in the role, including Tara Strong and Margot Robbie, have cited Sorkin as their inspiration.
Outside of her voice acting, Sorkin’s impact on Harley Quinn goes far beyond the character herself. In her comic book debut in Batman Adventures #12 (1993), it was revealed that Harley was born Harleen Quinzel, the same name as Sorkin. The two even share the same Jewish heritage, something that was confirmed more recently in the DC Comics’ mini-series, The Joker: Harley Quinn.
“We’ve lost Arleen Sorkin,” Mark Hamill says in a statement. “I cannot imagine the world without her. I was blessed to have known and worked with her. She was not only a brilliant talent, but a warm, caring soul.”
Strong, who later played Harley, credits Sorkin as the inspiration and heart of the character, saying “if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be where I am today.” She also announced that she would be donating proceeds from autographs to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Gunn, who notably featured Harley in his film The Suicide Squad, also paid tribute to Sorkin’s talent and contribution to the character.
Whatever your thoughts are on the current DC Universe, there’s no denying that Sorkin’s legacy lives on within it. Perhaps the next Harley Quinn will be inspired by Sorkin’s performance – who knows? Up next, there’s plenty of time for that.
If you or someone you know is affected by domestic violence, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline in the US on 1-800-799-7233.