France Mourns the Loss of Iconic Actress and Singer, Jane Birkin

An era concludes with the passing of Jane Birkin.

by Nouman Rasool
France Mourns the Loss of Iconic Actress and Singer, Jane Birkin

PARIS, July 16, 2023 — Jane Birkin, a British-born actress and singer who reigned over the French cultural scene for decades, has tragically passed away at her home in Paris at the age of 76, according to close sources.

The news comes after Birkin's health troubles in recent years, including a mild stroke in 2021. Widely hailed as a "timeless Francophone icon" by the French Culture Ministry, Birkin's eclectic career ranged from provocative roles in films to sultry songs that captured the spirit of an era.

She is perhaps best remembered for the 1969 duet "Je t’ non plus" with her then-lover, the late French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, which stirred global controversy due to its s*xually explicit lyrics.

"Today, we have lost the most Parisian of the English," remarked Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, praising Birkin's memorable laughter and "incomparable accent." More than an entertainer, Birkin was revered for her staunch support for women's and LGBT rights.

Born in December 1946 to British actress Judy Campbell and Royal Navy commander David Birkin, Jane Birkin started her stage career at 17. Early roles included a controversial threesome s*x scene in the 1966 Michelangelo Antonioni film "Blow-Up" and a part in the 1965 musical "Passion Flower Hotel," led by composer John Barry, who she briefly married.

Yet, it was France where Birkin's star truly ascended, her tomboyish style and endearing accent charming the nation. Her tumultuous love affair with Gainsbourg, which began on the set of "Slogan" in 1969, further propelled her into the limelight.

After their breakup in 1981, Birkin maintained a successful career, releasing poignant albums like "Baby Alone in Babylone" and "Amour des Feintes," both featuring Gainsbourg's lyrics. Her solo project, "Arabesque," debuted in 2002, followed by the live album "Jane at the Palace" in 2009.

Music World Mourns Birkin's Loss

The industry is mourning the loss, with French singer Etienne Daho lamenting, "It's unimaginable to live in a world without you." Outside her artistic pursuits, Birkin's name became synonymous with luxury when her struggle with a straw bag inspired the creation of the now-iconic Birkin bag by Hermes.

Birkin is survived by her daughters Charlotte and Lou Doillon, both successful artists in their own right. Her third daughter, Kate, predeceased her in 2013. Jane Birkin's passing leaves behind a legacy of cultural impact that transcends boundaries.