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 August 28, 2023

Voice actress Arleen Sorkin dead at age 67

Arleen Sorkin, best known as the voice behind Harley Quinn, has passed away at age 67.

Many remember Arleen Sorkin as the quirky Calliope Jones Bradford from the US soap "Days of Our Lives."

But to comic book fans and animated series enthusiasts, she is forever immortalized as the voice of the Joker's iconic sidekick, Harley Quinn. Arleen's portrayal of this character gave life and personality to what has become one of DC's most beloved characters, Stuff reported.

It all began in 1992 when Arleen voiced Harley Quinn in "Batman: The Animated Series." This was the inception of the character, and it was Sorkin's unique tone that gave Harley her memorable voice. Over the years, she reprised her role in various Batman series and games, adding layers and depth to Harley's character arc.

Yahoo News reported her passing, which was initially announced by fellow voice actor Neil Kaplin on Twitter.

The inspiration behind Harley Quinn

Paul Dini, the producer and writer of "Batman: The Animated Series," was inspired to create Harley Quinn after watching an episode of "Days of Our Lives." In that episode, Arleen Sorkin portrayed a Harlequin character. In essence, Arleen wasn't just the voice of Harley Quinn; she was the inspiration behind the character's creation.

Harley Quinn's character in the DC Universe was crafted with depth and backstory. Fans learned of her origin story in the 1999 episode "Mad Love," where she was introduced as Dr. Harleen Quinzel, a psychologist at Arkham Asylum assigned to the Joker. The character's real name, Harleen, is a nod to Arleen Sorkin.

Harley's charisma, wit, and complex relationship with the Joker led her to become one of the standout characters from "Batman: The Animated Series." From there, her popularity surged, resulting in solo comic titles, an animated series, and multiple film adaptations.

End of an era: Sorkin's legacy

James Gunn confirmed Arleen Sorkin's tragic death on Instagram. Many from the entertainment industry, including Mark Hamill, who voiced The Joker opposite Sorkin’s character, paid heartfelt tributes on social media platforms. Mark Hamill, who played Harley’s Joker, stated on social media:

"Arleen's portrayal of Harley was unparalleled. Her legacy will forever echo in the annals of animation history."

In recent years, due to health challenges, Sorkin retired from the role of Harley Quinn. Since then, talented actresses like Tara Strong and Laura Bailey have taken up the mantle. The character has also transitioned to the big screen with Margot Robbie famously portraying her in "Suicide Squad." News even surfaced that Lady Gaga will soon be portraying Harley in a film titled "Joker: Folie à Deux."

Despite her retirement, Arleen's contribution to the DC Universe remains unmatched. Her voice laid the foundation for Harley Quinn, making her a household name.

Remembering Arleen Sorkin

Outside the world of animation, Arleen Sorkin made a name for herself with her role as Calliope Jones in "Days of Our Lives" from 1984-1990. She also lent her voice to DC video games, such as "DC Universe Online" and "Batman: Arkham Asylum."

Sorkin was a mother, a wife, and an inspiration to many. Arleen is survived by her husband and two children, leaving behind a legacy of iconic roles and memorable performances.

While the world mourns the loss of this remarkable talent, her voice as Harley Quinn will forever remain in the hearts of fans worldwide.

Lessons to learn from this tragedy

  • The impact of one's work can echo for generations: Arleen's portrayal of Harley Quinn has touched millions and set the standard for future portrayals.
  • Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest of places: A simple character in a soap opera led to the creation of an iconic DC character.
  • Cherish the talents around you: Recognize and appreciate the artists and creators in your life for their contributions to culture and society.
  • Leave a mark that outlives you: While Arleen Sorkin is no longer with us, her legacy lives on through the characters she portrayed, the stories she told, and the lives she touched.

Why Harley Quinn and Arleen Sorkin matter

Characters like Harley Quinn are essential to popular culture. They give us a glimpse into human psychology, complexities, and the shades of grey that exist within us all. Harley, once a psychologist turned sidekick, is a tale of transformation and love's bewildering force.

Arleen Sorkin's portrayal made Harley relatable, lovable, and at times, heartbreaking. This depth and nuance are what made Harley stand out in the vast DC Universe. It's a testament to the power of storytelling and character development.

Arleen's death reminds us of the transient nature of life. But it also highlights the lasting impact of art, creativity, and the human spirit. Through her roles, Arleen lives on, teaching us about love, sacrifice, and the complexities of the human soul.

And so, as the curtains fall on this chapter, we are reminded of the beauty of storytelling and the indelible marks artists leave behind.

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Written By: Rampart Stonebridge

I'm Rampart Stonebridge, a curious and passionate writer who can't get enough of true crime. As a criminal investigative journalist, I put on my detective hat, delving deep into each case to reveal the hidden truths. My mission? To share engaging stories and shed light on the complexities of our mysterious world, all while satisfying your curiosity about the intriguing realm of true crime.
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