R.I.P. French music icon Jane Birkin

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Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin, the actress and singer and icon of French music, has died according to a report from French news source Le Parisien. No cause of death has been revealed, but Birkin recently had to cancel concerts scheduled in Paris in June for health reasons. She was 76.

Birkin’s family said in 2021 that she had suffered from a “minor form of stroke,” which caused her to cancel her appearance at the American Film Festival in Deauville, France, where she was scheduled to discuss Jane By Charlotte, a docu-drama about her, directed and written by her daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg.

Birkin was born in 1946 in England, the daughter of an actress and an official in the Royal Navy. In the 1960s, she began a career in acting, appearing in films such as Blow-Up and Kaleidoscope. She co-starred alongside Serge Gainsbourg in 1968’s Slogan, where they also recorded their first collaborative song, “La Chanson de Slogan.” They continued their musical collaboration with 1969’s “Je t’aime… moi non plus,” which sparked controversy due to its sexually explicit nature.

Gainsbourg and Birkin remained romantic and musical partners for 10 years, and in addition to recording music together, she also appeared on the cover of 1971’s Histoire de Melody Nelson. The couple separated in 1980, and in 1982, Birkin and her then partner, filmmaker Jacques Doillon, welcomed their first child together, Lou Doillon.

Birkin continued acting and recording throughout her life, and released 15 solo albums, the most recent being 2020’s Oh! Pardon tu dormais…. She was also the namesake of a prestigious line of Hermès leather tote bags that were introduced in 1980, which have since become a coveted status symbol.

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