Jane Birkin, Actress and Singer, Dies aged 76

Jane Birkin, singer and actress has died

BLACK NOTEBOOK: The former companion of Serge Gainsbourg, Jane Birkin was found dead at her home

Singer, actress, British but French by her career, Jane Birkin died this Sunday at the age of 76. The interpreter of I love you… me neither was found lifeless at his home this morning by his caregiver. The ex-girlfriend of Serge Gainsbourg had fought for several months against cancer in 2016 and had suffered a slight stroke in 2021. The information, given by Le Parisien and BFMTV, was confirmed to AFP by a source close to the case.

This Londoner of origin, naturalized French, whose name is inseparable from that of Serge Gainsbourg, had recently announced serious health problems which had forced her to cancel concerts. She appeared weakened during the last Cesar ceremony in February, alongside her daughter Charlotte and her granddaughter Alice. The circumstances of his death were not specified.

From cinema to mythical couple

Jane Birkin enjoyed worldwide success with songs like “Je t’aime… moi non plus”, a scandalous duet with Gainsbourg in 1969, “Jane B” the same year or “Ex-fan des sixties” in 1978. The public appreciated her for her sensitivity, underlined by the delicate British accent which she retained throughout her life. “Unimaginable to live in a world without your light”, lamented the singer Étienne Daho, one of his relatives, on Instagram. Sheila and Patrick Bruel also hailed his memory on social networks.

In the cinema, she played in “Blow up” by Antonioni, Palme d’Or in 1967, “La Piscine” with Romy Schneider and Alain Delon in 1969, or directors like Jean-Luc Godard, Jacques Doillon, Jacques Rivette and Agnes Varda. The relationship with Serge Gainsbourg, whom she met on a film set in 1968, gave a new direction to her career. And made the couple a mythical duo in the Paris of the seventies, mixing passion, glamour and scandals.

“Only heroes” should receive the Legion of Honor

Jane will end up suffocating in front of the one who is locked up in his excesses which are sometimes doubled by violent outbursts. In 1981, she fled their apartment on rue Verneuil in Paris, with her daughters Kate (born of her union with John Barry) and Charlotte, and rebuilt her life with the filmmaker Jacques Doillon. Long after the death of Serge Gainsbourg in 1991, and despite hardships such as the disappearance of her daughter Kate Barry in 2013, then a leukemia that took a long time to heal, she always sang the work of the one with whom she formed a couple. mythical.

Jane Birkin was an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and, in France, Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters. But she refused the Legion of Honor in 1989, believing that “only heroes” should receive it. It was a way of greeting his father, David, a Royal Navy officer who had transported resistance fighters from Britain to France during World War II. He died in 1991, the day of Serge Gainsbourg’s funeral.

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