The death of actress and vocalist Jane Birkin deprives France of an icon.

The death of actress and vocalist Jane Birkin deprives France of an icon.

The death of actress and vocalist Jane Birkin deprives France of an icon. Jane Birkin, an actress and singer of British descent who became a beloved character in France during the 1960s, died at 76 in Paris.

The French Ministry of Culture stated that a “timeless Francophone icon” had been lost.

According to sources close to her, local media reported that she was discovered deceased at home. Birkin suffered a mild stroke in 2021 following years of cardiac problems.

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Birkin was best known abroad for her 1969 hit, “Je time…moi non plus”, which she recorded with her then-lover, the late French performer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg.

She had resided in her adopted France since the late 1960s, and in addition to her singing and dozens of film roles, she was a well-known figure for her warm personality and tenacious fight for women’s and LGBT rights.

The “most Parisian of the English has left us,” according to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. “We will never forget her songs, laughs, and incomparable accent, which always accompanied us.”

Jane Mallory Birkin, daughter of British actress Judy Campbell and Royal Navy commander David Birkin, was born in London in December 1946.

She made her stage debut at 17 and appeared in the 1965 musical “Passion Flower Hotel” by conductor and composer John Barry, whom she married shortly after. The couple divorced in the late 1960s.

Before crossing the Channel at 22, she gained notoriety in the controversial 1966 film “Blow-Up” by Michelangelo Antonioni, in which she appeared nude in a three-person sex scene.

But it was in France where she indeed rose to prominence because of her affair with the tormented national icon Gainsbourg and her tomboyish style and endearing British accent when speaking French, which some say she deliberately cultivated.

After their breakup in 1981, she continued her career as a singer and actress, performing on stage and publishing albums such as “Baby Alone in Babylone” in 1983 and “Amour des Feintes” in 1990, both of which featured lyrics and music composed by Gainsbourg.

2002’s “Arabesque” was her album, and 2009’s “Jane at the Palace” was a compilation of live performances.

The French singer Etienne Daho, who produced and composed Birkin’s final album in 2020, stated, “It’s inconceivable to live in a world without you.”

On the set of “Slogan” in 1969, Birkin first met Gainsbourg, who was recovering from his breakup with Brigitte Bardot, and the two soon began a love affair that captured the nation’s attention.

The following year, they released “Je T’Aime… Moi Non-Plus” (“I Love You… Me Neither”), a song about physical love originally written for Bardot, with explicit lyrics from Gainsbourg and breathy moans and sobs from Birkin.

The BBC and the Vatican forbade the song and condemned it, respectively.

Eventually, Gainsbourg’s drinking weakened the relationship, and in 1981, Birkin left him to live with film director Jacques Doillon. She maintained an intimate relationship with the troubled singer until his death in March 1991.

After seeing her struggle with her straw purse on a flight to London and spill its contents on the floor, chief executive Jean-Louis Dumas was inspired to create the famous Birkin bag for the French luxury house Hermes.

Her two daughters, singer and actress Charlotte (born in 1971) and actress Lou Doillon (born in 1982), survive her. Kate, her daughter, was born in 1967 and passed away in 2013.

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