Arleen Sorkin

Arleen Sorkin (born October 14, 1955)[1] is a retired[citation needed] American actress, screenwriter, presenter and comedian. Sorkin is known for portraying Calliope Jones on the NBC daytime serial Days of Our Lives and for inspiring and voicing the DC Comics villain Harley Quinn in Batman: The Animated Series and the many animated series and video games that followed it.[2][3]

Arleen Sorkin
Born (1955-10-14) October 14, 1955 (age 66)
OccupationActress, screenwriter, comedian, presenter
Years active1983–2012
(m. 1995)

Life and careerEdit

Born in Washington, D.C.,[1] Sorkin began her career in cabaret in the late 1970s and early 1980s as a member of the comedy group The High-Heeled Women, alongside Mary Fulham, Tracey Berg, and Cassandra Danz.[citation needed] Sorkin is Jewish.[4][better source needed]

From 1987 to 1989, Sorkin had the role of Geneva, a sexy maid to yuppie couple Richard and Linda Phillips, on the Fox dramedy series Duet. She would reprise this role on one episode of Open House, the sequel series to Duet. In 1990, she went on to be the original female co-host on America's Funniest People. She also wrote for Tiny Toon Adventures.

In 1992, Sorkin was dismissed from America's Funniest People by Vin Di Bona. In response, Sorkin filed a lawsuit against Di Bona, claiming she was dismissed from the show due to her race, after ABC Chairman Dan Burke had suggested to Di Bona that Sorkin be replaced by an African-American or a person of another ethnic minority. Sorkin sought $450,000 for lost earnings, and an additional unspecified amount for harm to her professional reputation and emotional injury. She additionally claimed that after she denounced the move as being racially motivated, Di Bona changed plans and hired new cohost Tawny Kitaen, who is also white.[5]

One of her more prominent roles was the wacky but lovable Calliope Jones, as seen on Days of Our Lives. She played this part from 1984 to 1990 and made return visits in 1992 and 2001. She reprised her role on the soap for the fourth time on February 24, 2006. She returned to Days for a limited run beginning on May 5, 2010.[citation needed]

She provided inspiration for and voiced the animated character Harley Quinn, the Joker's jester sidekick and lover, created by Paul Dini, a college friend of Sorkin's who created Harley for the DC Comics TV series Batman: The Animated Series.[6][7] Harley went on to appear in DC comic books and in further animated TV series including The New Batman Adventures, Static Shock, and Justice League, as well as Gotham Girls, an internet cartoon series. Sorkin also voiced Harley in the animated film Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker and multiple video games. Following DC Universe Online, Sorkin retired from voicing Harley Quinn[citation needed] and therefore did not reprise her role in any subsequent DC projects. Sorkin was succeeded by several voice actresses, usually Tara Strong or Hynden Walch, in various media.

For the series Frasier, produced by her husband Christopher Lloyd, Sorkin would perform as a caller to Frasier Crane's radio show; the lines would later be dubbed over by a celebrity caller.[8] In the final episode of Frasier, Sorkin had an onscreen part as the owner of a monkey.

Personal lifeEdit

Since 1995, Sorkin has been married to television writer-producer Christopher Lloyd with whom she has two sons,[9] Eli and Owen.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
1983 Trading Places Woman at Party Uncredited
1985 From Here to Maternity Judy Television film
1986 Odd Jobs Diner Waitress
1987 Paul Reiser Out on a Whim
1991 Oscar Vendetti's Manicurist
Ted & Venus Marcia
I Don't Buy Kisses Amymore Monica
1993 Perry Mason: The Case of the Killer Kiss Peg Ferman Television film
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm Ms. Bambi (voice)
1994 It's Pat Herself
2000 Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker Harley Quinn / Harleen Quinzel (voice) Direct-to-video
2004 Comic Book: The Movie Ms. Q (Studio Secretary)


Year Title Role Notes
  • 1984–1990,
  • 1992,
  • 2006,
  • 2010
Days of Our Lives Calliope Jones
1986–1989 The New Hollywood Squares Panelist
1987 The New Mike Hammer Traci Baskin Episode: "The Last Laugh"
1987–1989 Duet Geneva 50 episodes
1989 Open House Episode: "Parade of Homes"
Family Feud Herself [11]
1990 Dream On Donna di Angelo Episode: "Angst for the Memories"
Room for Romance Episode: "Fool's Good"
1990–1992 America's Funniest People Co-host
1991 Taz-Mania Veronica (voice) Episode: "Bewitched Bob"
1992–1994 Batman: The Animated Series Harley Quinn / Harleen Quinzel (voice) 9 episodes
1997–1999 The New Batman Adventures 6 episodes
1997 Superman: The Animated Series 3 episodes
2000–2002 Gotham Girls 25 episodes
2003 Static Shock Episode: "Hard as Nails"
Justice League 2 episodes
2004 Frasier Rachel Episode: "Goodnight, Seattle: Part 2"

Video gamesEdit

Year Title Voice role Notes
1994 The Adventures of Batman & Robin Harley Quinn / Harleen Quinzel Sega CD version
2001 Batman Vengeance
2009 Batman: Arkham Asylum [12]
2011 DC Universe Online


Year Title Notes
1997 Picture Perfect Screenplay, story

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
2009 Spike Video Game Awards Best Voice Batman: Arkham Asylum (as "Harley Quinn") Nominated
1988 Daytime Emmy Awards Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Days of Our Lives Nominated
1989 Nominated
1985 Soap Opera Digest Awards Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role in a Daytime Serial Won
Outstanding New Actress in a Daytime Serial Won
1986 Outstanding Comic Relief Role on a Daytime Serial Won
1988 Outstanding Comic Performance by an Actress: Daytime Won
2011 Peabody Awards Shared with Jessica Hernández (editor) Bhutto Won
2011 International Documentary Association Video Source Award
Shared with Duane Baughman (director/producer)
Johnny O'Hara (director/writer)
Mark Siegel (producer)
Glenn Aveni (executive producer)


  1. ^ a b "Arleen Sorkin". Archived from the original on June 18, 2016. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  2. ^ "Mark Hamill Pays Tribute to Original Harley Quinn Arleen Sorkin".
  3. ^ @TheAnimatedBat (14 October 2020). "Happy Birthday to the Legendary..." (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  4. ^ Arielle Kaplan (July 31, 2021). "For a Show About a Jewish Anti-Hero, 'Harley Quinn' Sure Has a Lot of Anti-Semitic Tropes". alma.
  5. ^ "Former TV Co-Host Suing Producer". Buffalo News. 1993-04-18. Archived from the original on 2012-11-05. Retrieved 31 October 2010.
  6. ^ Riesman, Abraham (February 17, 2015). "The Hidden Story of Harley Quinn and How She Became the Superhero World's Most Successful Woman". (New York). Archived from the original on February 18, 2015. Retrieved June 22, 2016.
  7. ^ Jankiewicz, Pat (n.d.). "Quinn-tessentials: Interview with Arleen Sorkin". Starlog via Archived from the original on May 16, 2008.
  8. ^ Sorkin in Kevin Smith podcast "Fatman on Batman", July 7, 2012.
  9. ^ Whipp, Glenn (August 22, 2014). "Christopher Lloyd's award-winning funny bones". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 22, 2014.
  10. ^ "The art of writing and making films: Flushed Away". "About the Filmmakers", Flushed Away press kit, via The Writing Studio. Archived from the original on February 25, 2007.
  11. ^ Family Feud (1989): Funny Men vs Funny Women on YouTube
  12. ^ The character also appears in Batman: Arkham City but is instead voiced by Tara Strong, who played Batgirl in the animated series

External linksEdit