Singer and actress Jane Birkin, French music icon who inspired Birkin handbag, dead at 76

France's Culture Ministry dubbed Birkin a "timeless Francophone icon."

Published: July 16, 2023 10:03am

Jane Birkin, the British actress and singer who became a French icon and inspired the Birkin handbag, died Sunday, according to France's Culture Ministry. She was 76. 

Birkin is remembered for her fashion sense and her romantic and artistic relationship with French singer Serge Gainsbourg with whom she released duets including "Je t'aime... moi non plus," translated as "I love you ... me neither." She also acted in film adaptations of Agatha Christie books such as "Death on the Nile."

France's Culture Ministry dubbed Birkin a "timeless Francophone icon" in a tweet about her passing.

Birkin also campaigned for various political causes throughout her life. For example, in 2022, she joined other French celebrities in cutting off hair in support of the Iranian protests. Her daughter with Gainsburg, Charlotte Gainsbourg, cut off her mother's hair for the campaign, according to The Associated Press.

She also inspired the popular Birkin tote bag, which is produced by French luxury goods company Hermes. Even when used, the handbags can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Born in London in 1946, she was found dead Sunday morning in her Paris home after she canceled recent concerts over health concerns, according to French media.

Madeleine Hubbard is an international correspondent for Just the News. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

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