Actress and singer Jane Birkin, who inspired the iconic Birkin bag, has passed away at the age of 76.

Birkin was best known internationally for her 1969 hit, where she and her then-lover, the late French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, sang the provocative song “Je t’aime… moi non plus.”

PARIS – British-born actress and singer Jane Birkin, a wild child of the 1960s who became an adored figure in France, has died in Paris at the age of 76.

The French Ministry of Culture said the country had lost a “timeless French icon.

Local media reported that she was found dead at her home, citing sources close to her. Birkin had suffered a mild stroke in 2021 after experiencing heart issues in previous years.

Birkin was best known internationally for her 1969 hit, where she and her then-lover, the late French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, sang the provocative song “Je t’aime… moi non plus.

She lived in France since the late 1960s and, in addition to singing and acting in dozens of films, she was also well-known for her warm nature and staunch advocacy for women’s and LGBTQ rights.

The most Parisian of English women has left us,” said Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. “We will never forget her songs, her laughter, and her unique voice that accompanied us.

Jane Mallory Birkin was born in London in December 1946, the daughter of British actor Judy Campbell and Royal Navy Commander David Birkin.

She first stepped onto the stage at the age of 17 and went on to appear in the musical “Passion Flower Hotel” in 1965 by composer and songwriter John Barry, whom she married shortly afterward. The marriage ended in the late 1960s.

Before venturing across the Channel at the age of 22, she gained fame in the controversial 1966 film “Blow-Up” by Michelangelo Antonioni, appearing nude in a ménage à trois sex scene.

But it was in France where she truly rose to fame, along with her tumultuous relationship with the national star Gainsbourg, as well as her tomboy style and endearing British accent when speaking French, something some believed she deliberately cultivated.

After their relationship ended in 1981, she continued her career as a singer and actress, appearing on stage and releasing albums like “Baby Alone in Babylone” in 1983 and “Amour des Feintes” in 1990, both with lyrics and music by Gainsbourg.

She wrote her own album “Arabesque” in 2002, and in 2009, released a collection of live recordings, “Jane at the Palace.

French singer Etienne Daho, who produced and composed Birkin’s most recent album in 2020, said, “It’s unimaginable to live in a world without you.

It was on the set of the film “Slogan” in 1969 where Birkin first met Gainsbourg, who was recovering from a breakup with Brigitte Bardot, and the two quickly embarked on a passionate love affair that captivated the nation.

That same year, they released “Je T’Aime… Moi Non Plus” (“I Love You… Me Neither“), a song about initial physical love originally written for Bardot, in which Gainsbourg’s risqué lyrics were interspersed with Birkin’s breathy moans and cries.

The song was banned by the BBC and condemned by the Vatican.

Gainsbourg’s alcohol consumption eventually strained the relationship, and Birkin left him in 1981 to live with film director Jacques Doillon. However, she remained close to the troubled singer until his death in March 1991.

Around this time, she inspired the creation of the famous Birkin bag by luxury French fashion house Hermes, after CEO Jean-Louis Dumas saw her struggling with her straw bag on a flight to London, causing its contents to spill out.

She had two daughters, singer and actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, born in 1971, and Lou Doillon, also an actress, born in 1982. She also had a daughter, Kate, born in 1967 and passed away in 2013.

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