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Arleen Sorkin, Voice and Inspiration for Harley Quinn, Dies at 67

Arleen Sorkin, known for her role as Harley Quinn, has passed away at 67. Her performance inspired the iconic character.

Arleen Sorkin, a talented actor and writer, sadly passed away at the age of 67. While there has been no official statement from her family at this time, it is important to remember the impact she had on the entertainment industry. Sorkin is best known for her role as Calliope Jones on the popular soap opera Days of Our Lives, but her most iconic contribution was as the voice and inspiration behind the beloved antagonist Harley Quinn on Batman: The Animated Series.

In addition to her work on Days of Our Lives, Sorkin also played the character Geneva on the show Duet and had various writing credits to her name. She showcased her writing skills on the show Tiny Toon Adventures and co-wrote the 1997 film Picture Perfect. Sorkin even had the opportunity to co-host America's Funniest People.

However, it was her portrayal of Harley Quinn that truly left a lasting impact. Sorkin not only originated the role but continued to lend her voice to the character in television and video games. It is essential to emphasize the significance of Sorkin's contribution to the character of Harley Quinn. Without her, there would be no Harley Quinn as we know her today. Surprisingly, Quinn was not originally part of the Batman universe until Batman: The Animated Series. Writer and producer Paul Dini created the character specifically for the show, and Sorkin served as the main inspiration behind it.

Harley Quinn, the femme fatale jester, first made her appearance in Episode 22, titled "Joker's Favor," of the animated series. According to Geek Tyrant, Dini was inspired to create the character after watching an episode of Days of Our Lives featuring Sorkin's character, Calliope Jones. Given their close friendship, Sorkin shared a VHS compilation of her best scenes on the show, including one where she was dressed as a clown.

Dini had initially written a henchwoman role for the Joker but was struggling with ideas on how to develop the character. He turned to Sorkin's performance for inspiration, stating in an interview with Vulture, "I had already decided to give the Joker a henchwoman in the script and thought Arleen's screwball persona would be a good contrast to the Joker's dangerous insanity. I also liked the idea of putting Harley in some sort of colorful costume, harkening back to the molls of the 1960s live-action Batman series. Seeing Arleen in the jester costume around that time just helped fix that image in my brain."

With the guidance of Bruce Timm, the creator of Batman: The Animated Series, Dini further developed Quinn's character and iconic design, which Timm illustrated. Sorkin was chosen to voice the role, and the rest is history. What was initially intended as a one-off character quickly became one of the most beloved comic book villains of all time, thanks to Sorkin's portrayal. From her distinctive accent to her Jewish background and even her real name, Harleen Quinzel, Sorkin's influence shaped the essence of Harley Quinn.

Since Sorkin's passing, many individuals on social media have expressed their condolences and shared their fond memories of her.

(Featured image: Angela Weiss/Getty Images/Warner Bros. Animation)

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