Jane Birkin OBE, a British-French singer and actress, achieved worldwide fame and recognition through her enduring musical and romantic collaboration with Serge Gainsbourg. In addition to her musical success, she had an illustrious acting career, predominantly in French cinema.
Born-14 December 1946
Birthplace-Marylebone, London, United Kingdom
Full name- Jane Mallory Birkin
Died-16 July 2023
Death place- Paris, France
Profession-Singer and Actress
Spouse- John Barry (m. 1965–1968)
Grandchildren- Alice Attal, Ben Attal, Roman de Kermadec, Marlowe Jack Tiger Mitchell
Jane Mallory Birkin was born on December 14, 1946, in Marylebone, London. Her mother, Judy Campbell, was a renowned English actress known for her work on the stage, while her father, David Birkin, served as a Royal Navy lieutenant commander and worked as a World War II spy. Jane had a brother, Andrew Birkin, who later became a screenwriter and director. Notably, her niece is Sophie Hunter, a theatre and opera director.
Growing up in Chelsea, Jane described herself as a “shy English girl.” Unfortunately, she faced challenges in her youth, enduring bullying for her appearance. She shared her painful experiences, stating, “I suffered a lot because of my physique, especially at boarding school. The others said I was half boy, half girl. I had no breasts, not even a developing bosom. It was horrible.”
John Barry: Jane Birkin married the renowned British composer and conductor John Barry in 1965. Their union produced a daughter named Kate Barry, born in 1967. Unfortunately, their marriage ended in divorce in the late 1960s.
Serge Gainsbourg: Jane Birkin’s most famous and enduring relationship was with the legendary French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. They met while working on the film “Slogan” in 1968 and began a passionate and tumultuous romance that lasted for over a decade. Together, they collaborated on the iconic and controversial song “Je t’aime…moi non plus” in 1969, which garnered international attention. During their relationship, they also had a daughter named Charlotte Gainsbourg, born in 1971, who followed in her parents’ footsteps and became a successful actress and singer.
Despite their intense bond and creative collaboration, Jane and Serge’s relationship eventually ended in 1980, but they remained close friends until Gainsbourg’s death in 1991.
Jacques Doillon: After her relationship with Gainsbourg ended, Jane Birkin married French film director Jacques Doillon in 1981. They had a daughter named Lou Doillon, born in 1982. Unfortunately, their marriage also ended in divorce later on.
Jane Mallory Birkin has three daughters, each from different relationships:
Kate Barry: Jane Birkin’s daughter with her first husband, John Barry. Kate Barry was born on April 8, 1967. She became a talented photographer and worked with various fashion magazines and celebrities. Tragically, Kate Barry passed away on December 11, 2013, at the age of 46.
Charlotte Gainsbourg: Jane Birkin’s daughter with Serge Gainsbourg, born on July 21, 1971.
Lou Doillon: Jane Birkin’s daughter with French film director Jacques Doillon, born on September 4, 1982.
Jane Mallory Birkin, known simply as Jane Birkin, has had a versatile and successful career as an actress, singer, and fashion icon. Here are some key highlights of her career:
Jane Birkin’s acting career took off in the 1960s. She gained early recognition for her role in the controversial 1966 film “Blow-Up,” directed by Michelangelo Antonioni. The film’s explicit content and Birkin’s performance garnered attention.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, she appeared in several French films, solidifying her status as a rising star in French cinema.
Birkin starred in several successful movies, including “Slogan” (1969) and “La Piscine” (1969), both of which she acted alongside her partner, Serge Gainsbourg. She continued to work in the film industry throughout the 1970s and 1980s, collaborating with notable directors and fellow actors.
Jane Birkin’s most significant musical collaboration was with Serge Gainsbourg. Their romantic and creative partnership led to the iconic and controversial song “Je t’aime…moi non plus” in 1969, which became an international hit.
She released numerous successful albums and singles in the 1970s and beyond, showcasing her distinctive, breathy singing voice.Some of her notable albums include “Di doo dah” (1973), “Ex fan des sixties” (1978), and “Amours des Feintes” (1990).
Fashion and Iconic Bag:
Birkin’s influence extended beyond her artistic endeavors. Her unique style and fashion sense made her a fashion icon, often celebrated for her effortless and bohemian chic looks.
In the 1980s, Jane Birkin inadvertently inspired the creation of the Hermès Birkin Bag. After a chance encounter with Jean-Louis Dumas, the former chief executive of Hermès, on an airplane, she
expressed her frustration with finding the perfect bag. Dumas then designed the iconic bag, which quickly became one of the most sought-after and luxurious fashion accessories in the world.
Advocacy and Humanitarian Work:
Throughout her career, Jane Birkin has been actively involved in various humanitarian causes, advocating for human rights, women’s rights, and environmental issues. She has worked with organizations such as Amnesty International and Greenpeace, using her fame to raise awareness and support various charitable efforts.
Jane Birkin’s career has left an indelible mark on the worlds of film, music, fashion, and activism. Her contributions to the arts and her commitment to making a positive impact on society continue to be recognized and admired.
Jane Birkin has received several honors and awards throughout her career. Here are some notable accolades:
- César Awards:
- 1985: Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the film “La Pirate” (1984).
- Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honor):
- Jane Birkin was awarded this prestigious honor for her significant contributions to the arts and culture, particularly in the fields of acting and music.
- Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters):
- This distinction was bestowed upon Birkin in recognition of her outstanding achievements and contributions to the arts.
Net Worth 2023
At the time of her passing, Jane Birkin’s estimated net worth was approximately $20 million, which she had earned through her successful career as an actress and singer.
Cause Of Death
British-born actress and singer Jane Birkin, who gained fame as a 1960s wildchild and became a beloved figure in France, passed away in Paris at the age of 76. The French Culture Ministry described her as a “timeless Francophone icon,” mourning the loss of a cherished personality.
Local reports stated that she was found deceased at her residence, and it’s known that she had faced health challenges, including a mild stroke in 2021 following previous heart issues.
Jane Birkin’s international recognition came from her 1969 hit, “Je t’aime…moi non plus,” which she recorded with her late lover, the renowned French singer and songwriter Serge Gainsbourg. Embracing France as her second home since the late 1960s, she not only made a mark in the music industry but also graced numerous films with her talent. Beyond her artistic contributions, she was admired for her warmth and relentless advocacy for women’s and LGBT rights.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo fondly remembered her as the “most Parisian of the English,” highlighting Birkin’s unforgettable songs, laughter, and distinctive accent that resonated with her audience.