Jane Birkin, the beloved British-French actor and singer who spent most of her life in France and lived many years with French singer-songwriter Charles Gainsbourg, died on Sunday (July 16) at her home in Paris, according to Le Parisien newspaper. She was 76.
Birkin was best known internationally for her steamy 1969 duet “Je t’aime… moi non plus” which she sang with Gainsbourg, one year after meeting him. Together, Birkin and Gainsbourg had a daughter, the actor and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg (“Melancholia,” “Nymphomaniac”). Birkin had two other daughters, the musician Lou Doillon with French director Jacques Doillon, and Kate Barry, the late photographer, whom she had with her first husband, James Bond composer John Barry.
In France, Birkin quickly became a fashion icon in the 1970’s with her effortlessly chic style that she imported from London. She even inspired the French luxury brand Hermes to create the Birkin bag.
One of her best-known film credits is Jacques Deray’s “La Piscine” (“The Swimming Pool”) in which she starred opposite Alain Delon and Romy Schneider. She earned three nominations at the Cesar Awards, including for “La Pirate,” directed by Jacques Doillon. She made her directorial debut with “Boxes” which played at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007.
Birkin was portrayed by her daughter Charlotte in the documentary feature “Jane by Charlotte” in 2021. The critically acclaimed intimate documentary played at Cannes and was nominated for a Cesar Award. Birkin, who was beloved for her optimism and unassuming charm, suffered a stroke in 2021 and had recently broken her shoulder-blade which led to cancel several concerts in March. Earlier this year, Birkin took part in the televised charity concert organized by “Les enfoirés.”