Jane Birkin was a British and French actress and singer who attained international fame and notability for her decade-long musical and romantic partnership with Serge Gainsbourg.
She was born on December 14, 1946, in Marylebone, London, England, to actress Judy Campbell and David Birkin, a Commander of the Royal Navy:
Birkin had a prolific career as an actress, mostly in arty and erotic European movies, and also wrote several albums worth of songs, acted on stage, and threw herself into political and social activism.
She was also a fashion muse who inspired the famous Hermès Birkin bag.
Jane Birkin net worth
Birkin passed away on July 16, 2023, at the age of 76.
Her body was found at her Paris home by one of her caregivers on her first night alone in almost two years, as she was trying to regain her independence while fighting cancer.
The cause of her death was confirmed to be “natural causes” by her family’s statement, which was released by her manager, Olivier Gluzman, on behalf of her daughters.
Birkin had been involved in a “fierce battle” against cancer for 16 years, and had described her leukemia as a “not very painful cancer”.
She had also suffered a mild stroke in 2021, which forced her to cancel shows that year, and had broken her shoulder blade in March 2023, which led to the cancellation of her shows again.
Despite her health issues, Birkin had expressed her wish to start performing again and had been looking forward to her next appearance at the Olympia concert hall in Paris.
Jane Birkin career
Birkin’s acting career began in England, where she appeared in films such as The Knack…, How to Get It, and Blow-Up.
She later moved to France, where she continued to work as both an actress and a singer, appearing in various independent films and recording music with Gainsbourg.
Birkin was a fashion icon and her personal style was key to defining the ‘Gallic’ style of the 1960s and ’70s.
She was also the inspiration behind the iconic Birkin bag, which was launched by Hermes in 1983.
In addition to her artistic pursuits, Birkin was a philanthropist who worked with Amnesty International on immigrant welfare and the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
She visited countries such as Bosnia, Rwanda, Israel, and Palestine to support these causes.
Birkin was also one of 200 public figures who signed an open letter on the front page of the French magazine Le Monde, which urged politicians to fight climate change with haste.
She continued to work into her later years, appearing in over 70 movies in her lifetime.
Birkin was appointed OBE in 2001 for services to acting and Anglo-French cultural relations.
Jane Birkin personal life
Birkin had a diverse and eventful personal life.
Her mother, Judy Campbell, was an actress, and her father, David Birkin, worked in the military.
She described her childhood as “divine” and filled with fun.
On the other hand, Birkin had three daughters: Kate Barry, Charlotte Gainsbourgnand Lou Doillon.
At the age of 17, Birkin married her first husband, John Barry, a celebrated composer known for his work on James Bond movies.
She later had a long-standing romantic and creative relationship with French musician Serge Gainsbourg, whom she met on the set of the movie Slogan in 1968.
In 2013, Birkin tragically lost her daughter Kate Barry, who died by suspected suicide.