The Days Of Our Lives Scene That Was The Inspiration For Arleen Sorkin's Harley Quinn

"Days of Our Lives" star Arleen Sorkin died at 67 in August 2023. One of her most iconic roles was that of Harley Quinn in "Batman: The Animated Series." In fact, one scene of her "Days" character, Calliope Jones, inspired the creation of the Joker's sidekick-slash-problematic-love-interest.

In a bedtime story sequence, Calliope transforms into a medieval Harlequin, complete with clown makeup, a ruffled collar and sleeves, and a horn to punctuate jokes with. As seen in this clip, Calliope the Court Jester tries to uplift the spirits of the royal family like any good clown can. She also stages a rescue with the help of some other heroes.

Sorkin was a writer in addition to an actor, and she came up with the idea to transform the cast of "Days" into fairy-tale characters for a spell. "I could never just come in and run my lines," Sorkin told Vulture. "I was forever suggesting stuff, probably out of boredom!" The footage of Sorkin as Calliope the Court Jester fell into the hands of a friend from college, which motivated him to create the formidable Harley Quinn and invite Sorkin to voice her.

Sorkin's performance on 'Days' inspired the character of Harley Quinn and got her the voice role

The story of how TV writer Paul Dini saw Arleen Sorkin's portrayal of Calliope the Court Jester on "Days of Our Lives" differs depending on who's telling it. While Vulture reports that Sorkin gave Dini a tape of Calliope scenes that he happened to watch on a sick day, Dini told The Hollywood Reporter he saw the episode by chance. He wanted to include a woman in the Joker's gang because the Adam West series did that for other Batman villains.

Dini knew Sorkin from college and thought of giving the Joker's new henchwoman a similar personality. He added, "I was home sick and had the TV on, and there she was on 'Days of Our Lives' playing a jester in a fantasy sequence. I saw her running around in a pied piper outfit, and I thought, 'That's kind of cute.'" Dini is also the one who pitched Sorkin as the voice for Harley and who wanted her back for more episodes than the one she was written for — despite initial hesitance from Harley's co-creator Bruce Timm.

"She was fun and fawned over the Joker and was a willing audience for him," Dini said of Harley. "The more we used her for that, the more we had this twisted relationship growing between them, where she idolized him or followed his orders to the letter. That really gave us an interesting dynamic."

Arleen Sorkin gave depth to Harley Quinn

Harley Quinn has become an iconic character since her inception in the '90s, but initially, there were mixed opinions. Paul Dini told Entertainment Weekly that Harley won more people over when her relationship with the Joker developed more, saying, "Once we deepened and gave her that twisted attraction to the Joker, people were more interested. We showed she wasn't just going to be a cartoon sidekick; she had some emotional investment in the Joker, and that's what made her interesting." He also spoke about how everything fell into place for Harley Quinn to come to life and for Arleen Sorkin to voice the role. Like Sorkin,  Dini even gave Harley a New York accent and a Jewish background.

Sorkin went on to voice Harley in many other pieces of Batman and DC media, such as "Superman: The Animated Series," "Gotham Girls," and the "Batman: Arkham Asylum" video game. Harley is incredibly popular, and many people follow makeup tutorials to turn into Harley Quinn for Halloween or cosplay any time of year.

After Sorkin's death, people flooded Twitter to share fan art and other tributes to the late actor. Sorkin's contributions to the franchise will always be cherished by DC fans.