Jane Birkin Dead at 76

    Jane Birkin has died at the age of 76. The iconic actress, singer, and model was found dead at her home in Paris, French news outlet Le Parisien reports. A cause of death has not yet been disclosed. She had previously been diagnosed with leukemia in 2002 and suffered a stroke in 2021.

    Born in London in 1946 to Judy Campbell and David Birkin, Birkin started acting as a teenager and became a staple of the Swinging London scene in the 1960s. She picked up a few minor acting parts before landing roles in films like Michelangelo Antonioni’s BlowupKaleidoscope, and Wonderwall. In 1965, she married James Bond composer John Barry and had her first daughter, Kate, who died in 2013 at age 46. Barry and Birkin divorced in 1968.

    Birkin met French actor and singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg on the set of the 1968 film Slogan, and the pair’s erotically charged 1969 single ‘Je t’aime moi non plus’ became a Number One single in the UK, the first foreign language song to top the charts in the country. Their relationship lasted for more than a decade, and in 1971 they had a daughter, French singer and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg. Birkin was also the mother of French singer and actress Lou Doillon through her 13-year relationship with French director Jacques Doillon.

    Throughout her acting career, Birkin worked with directors such as Jean-Luc Godard, Agnes Varda, Jacques Rivette, Roger Vadim, and Alain Resnais. She also appeared in two Agatha Christie adaptations, 1978’s Death on the Nile and 1982’s Evil Under the Sun. She continued releasing her music well into the 2000s, her most recent LP being 2020’s Oh! Pardon, tu dormais…. Birkin was also the namesake of the Birkin bag, which was created in 1980s by French luxury design house Hermès after a chance encounter between the singer and company executive Jean-Louis Dumas.

    Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, wrote in a statement following Birkin’s passing: “Because she embodied freedom, because she sang the most beautiful words of our language, Jane Birkin was a French icon. A complete artist, her voice was as sweet as her engagements were fiery. She bequeaths us tunes and images that will never leave us.”

     

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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