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Singer and actress Jane Birkin dies age 76

She was an influential figure across music, film and fashion.

Jane Birkin (Yui Mok/PA)

Singer and actress Jane Birkin has died at the age of 76, according to French media.

Birkin was an influential figure across music, film and fashion, most notably for her collaboration with the late Serge Gainsbourg and lending her name to the Hermes Birkin designer handbag.

French media have reported that she was found dead at her home in Paris.

Actress Jane Birkin with Serge Gainsbourg (PA)

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, tweeted: “Jane Birkin, the most Parisian of the English has left us.

“We will never forget her songs, her laughter or her incomparable accent that have always accompanied us.”

Meanwhile, Menna Rawlings, the British ambassador to France, paid tribute to her on Twitter, describing her as “the most French of British artists”.

Birkin rose to international stardom with her risque projects with Gainsbourg before forging a long and varied career on her own.

The couple’s breathless song Je T’Aime…Moi Non Plus was widely kept from the airwaves because of its adult content but reached number one in the UK despite being sung in a foreign language.

Birkin pursued a solo career releasing several albums, often singing in both French and English, and her notable acting credits including Agatha Christie’s Death On The Nile and Evil Under The Sun.

She is also the inspiration for the Hermes Birkin handbag, after fashion businessman Jean-Louis Dumas spoke to the actress and singer about her frustration at not being able to find a bag big enough for her daughter’s bottles during a flight from Paris to London in 1984.

Birkin bags have a host of celebrity admirers, with famous owners of the accessory including former US first lady Melania Trump, rapper Cardi B, pop star-turned fashion designer Victoria Beckham and reality star Kim Kardashian.

Meg Randell, Head of Designer Handbags and Fashion at Bonhams, holding a range of Birkin bags (Yui Mok/PA)

Throughout her career, Birkin has also been involved in various humanitarian causes, including working with Amnesty International and Unicef.

In 2022, Birkin and her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg made headlines taking part in a protest video featuring stars such as Marion Cotillard and Juliette Binoche which saw them cutting off locks of their hair in support of protesters in Iran.

The Instagram video hash-tagged HairForFreedom, came as Iran was engulfed by anti-government protests following the death in custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after her arrest for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.


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