Batman's original Harley Quinn actress, Arleen Sorkin, has died at the age of 67.
Sorkin first voiced the villain in Batman: The Animated Series, and continued to portray her across the DC Animated Universe, as well as the games Batman: Arkham Asylum and DC Universe Online, alongside the late Kevin Conroy's Batman and Mark Hamill's The Joker.
B:TAS writer Paul Dini was a friend of Sorkin, and actually created the Harley character with her in mind after seeing her in a jester outfit in an episode of Days of Our Lives.
Another role outside of Batman she had was in the final episode of Frasier's original run, although she helped provide lines on set to aid her husband Christopher Lloyd, who was a producer on the show.
Hamill led the tributes, writing on Twitter/X: "Devastated to learn we've lost the brilliant Arleen Sorkin. Not just a wonderful talent, but a truly wonderful person. I'm grateful not only to have worked with her, but to have been her friend. Sending my heartfelt condolences to her family and loved ones."
"Rest in Peace, Arleen Sorkin, the incredibly talented original voice of Harley Quinn, who helped to create the character so many of us love. Love to her family and friends," Gunn shared on Instagram.
Tara Strong, who voiced Batgirl opposite Sorkin and later took over the role of Harley in the Arkham games and other projects after Sorkin's retirement, wrote a lengthy tribute that reads: "Without this gorgeous, talented goddess, Harley Quinn would have never existed. She was the inspiration and the heart and soul of this iconic character. I was in awe as Batgirl watching her alongside @MarkHamill and Kevin. Sending love to her family."
Devastated to learn we've lost the brilliant Arleen Sorkin. Not just a wonderful talent, but a truly wonderful person. I'm grateful not only to have worked with her, but to have been her friend. 🙏 Sending my heartfelt condolences to her family & loved ones. 💔 pic.twitter.com/g1Mb3BWoKn
— Mark Hamill (@MarkHamill) August 27, 2023
As Strong's tribute continued, she thanked Sorkin for being "unbelievably gracious to me in the press after stepping into her glorious boots" and pledged the money from all autograph sales this weekend to a domestic violence charity, in honour of how the character began as "an abused woman" and has now become a symbol of empowerment.
Other tributes came in from veteran voice actors Jim Cummings, who said: "You paved the way for an entire generation and I'll never forget our time working together", as well as Neil Kaplan adding: "It broke my heart to hear the original voice of Harley Quinn, Arlene Sorkin has passed away. I adored her work."
If you've been affected by reference to domestic violence raised in this story, organisations including Refuge (www.refuge.org.uk) and Women's Aid (www.womensaid.org.uk) can provide further support and information. The 24-hour, freephone National Domestic Abuse Helpline is 0808 2000 247. The US National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or text LOVEIS to 22522.
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