Arleen Sorkin, best known on-screen for her performance as Calliope Jones on Days of Our Lives and for being the original voice and inspiration of the DC Comics villain Harley Quinn, has died at 67.
Her passing was confirmed on X, previously known as Twitter, by Neil Kaplan, who wrote, "It broke my heart to hear... the original voice of Harley Quinn, Arlene Sorkin has passed away. I adored her work as HQ & as Calliope in Days of Our Lives."
Born October 14, 1955, in Washington, D.C., Sorkin began her career as a cabaret performer and worked in the comedy troupe The High-Heeled Women in the '70s and '80s. She found fame as the wacky, but loveable Calliope from 1984 to 1990. Sorkin would make several guest appearances in 1992, 2001, 2006, and 2010. In what would end up being her final DAYS appearance in May 2010, Rafe's plan to use Calliope to persuade Anna to identify her accomplice in Sydney's kidnapping backfired.
Sorkin was twice nominated for a Daytime Emmy in the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series categeory. She received four Soap Opera Digest Awards for her work on DAYS.
Sorkin was a regular guest on daytime game shows, she was a regular on the series Duet, and she served as a co-host on America's Funniest People. Sorkin was also a writer for Tiny Toon Adventures.
Sorkin served as the inspiration for the character of Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend. Her college roommate, Paul Dini, created the character after being influenced by a series of out-there dream sequences Sorkin performed in on DAYS.
Harley Quinn was intended to be a one-episode character when she debuted on Batman: The Animated Series in the 1992 episode “Joker’s Favor,” which introduced her as a henchwoman to Mark Hamill’s Joker.
Hamill paid tribute to Sorkin on 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 & loved ones.”
Lady Gaga will appear as Harley Quinn in the upcoming film Joker: Folie à Deux due out sometime next year. You can check out some of the scenes that served as the inspiration below.
DC boss James Gunn wrote on Instagram Saturday: “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.”
Sorkin is survived by her husband of 26 years, TV producer and writer Christopher Lloyd, and their sons Eli and Owen.
What are some of your favorite memories of Arleen Sorkin's time as Calliope? We want to hear from you -- so drop your comments in the Comments section below, tweet about it on Twitter, share it on Facebook, or chat about it on our Message Boards.