JANE BIRKIN. Singer, actress and fashion icon Jane Birkin died on Sunday July 16, raising a wave of tributes in France.
The singer Jane Birkin was found lifeless at her Parisian home, revealed Sunday July 16 Le Parisien, without giving more information on the circumstances of her disappearance, nor on the causes of this brutal death. In recent months, the artist had to cancel all his summer concerts for health reasons. In a press release, Jane Birkin had however made an appointment with her fans "this fall", wanting to be reassuring: "I have always been a great optimist, and realize that I still need a little time to be able to be on stage and with you again. I love being with you so much. I miss you." At the beginning of March 2023, Jane Birkin had already canceled a concert in Brittany. "I'm not well at all, I broke my shoulder blade and I'm in a lot of pain," she told Le Télégramme newspaper. In 2021, the 76-year-old singer had already had to cancel her visit to several events after suffering a stroke.
Monday July 17, the day after the death of Jane Birkin, her two daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, evoke in a press release a "fierce battle against the disease" led by the singer for 16 years. To AFP, his entourage also revealed the causes of the death of Jane Birkin, who would therefore have died of "natural causes."
Singer, actress, screenwriter, director, muse... Jane Birkin was one of the artists who could boast of having crossed the ages in the French (and British) musical landscape. She was born on December 14, 1946 in Marylebone, London, United Kingdom. Daughter of British actress Judy Campbell and David Birkin, a commander in the Royal Navy who helped the French Resistance during World War II, Jane Birkin is passionate about comedy and is destined for a career as an actress.
She made her theater debut at just 17 years old. At 18, in England, she played in The Knack... and how to get it, by Richard Lester. His first role. After having played in Graham Greene and the musical Passion flower hote, she followed up with a very remarkable performance in Blow-up by Antonioni, crowned by the Palme d'or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1967. In April, that year , Jane Birkin has a daughter, Kate, born of her marriage to the English composer John Barry.
The life and career of Jane Birkin is also intimately linked to that of Serge Gainsbourg. In 1969, she headlined Slogan alongside him. Together, they will become a famous couple and the latter allows the actress to start a singing career in parallel. In 1975, she played the lead role in Serge Gainsbourg's highly controversial Je t'aime moi non plus. Three years later, she followed up with three films by Jacques Doillon, including La Pirate, which consolidated her status as a talented actress and allowed her to play under the direction of renowned directors. For the Rivette, she plays in L'Amour par terre as well as "La Belle Noiseuse" followed by Jane B. by Agnès V., Kung Fu Master by Varda and finally Daddy Nostalgie by Tavernier.
An accomplished artist with many facets, she is omnipresent in all fields, cinema, auteur films, theater, music. However, it will begin to become rare from the 1990s, but appears however in We know the song in 1997, Married but not too much in 2003 but also If you die, I kill you in 2011.
This is one of the most legendary couples in French song: Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. The two artists meet on the set of the film Slogan, by Pierre Grimblat, while the young woman replaces the actress Marisa Berenson. They appear during a dinner at Maxim's, in Paris: it is the beginning of their romance which will make many ink flow in the late 1960s. For ten years, their idyll will fascinate the French. The most prominent couple in the capital lives in Paris, with Jane Birkin's first daughter, Kate. On July 12, 1971, a daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, was born in a London clinic. Quickly, the scandalous press speaks of marriage: it will not be.
In 1975, it was in Serge Gainsbourg's first film, Je t'aime moi non plus, that she reappeared. A feature film that won her the César for best actress. Serge Gainsbourg will offer Jane Birkin several of her most beautiful songs, notably thanks to the soundtrack of Je t'aime, moi non plus. But in 1980, Jane Birkin left the sulphurous singer. In question ? The addiction to alcohol, even the violence of Serge Gainsbourg. The Briton will find love again in the arms of director Jacques Doillon, with whom she will have another daughter, Lou, in September 1982.
If she came to France to play comedy, Jane Birkin has become one of the cult singers of French musical heritage. In particular thanks to several titles, which have entered the pantheon of cult songs. We could cite, of course, we have already talked about it, Je t'aime, moi non plus, with Serge Gainsbourg, as well as Ballad of Melody Nelson in 1971, Ballad of Johnny Jane in 1976, Fuir le bonheur fear qu'il ne saves himself in 1983, but also Do you remember and My name is Jane in 2004, two tracks taken from his album Rendez-vous.
After having released several albums and chained tours, Jane Birkin, in 2012, was forced to cancel a series of concerts in France. In question ? An "acute pericarditis followed by multiple recurrences", which forced her to "complete rest", was it announced by her manager Olivier Gluzman in June that year. Acute pericarditis is an inflammation of the pericardium, a membrane that surrounds the heart muscle. A disease that had turned into leukemia. "We go to the hospital for pericarditis, then for the water around the lungs, we remove a liter and a half, but after that, it's the blood cells that start to prank you", explained the artist in Gala in 2013, describing "an autoimmune disease, in a rather poetic genre."
For several months, the disease pushed Jane Birkin to withdraw from the media scene, to treat her leukemia at the Avicenne hospital in Bobigny. A few years later, on the occasion of the release of "Birkin / Gainsbourg: Le symphonique", she explained that she was "doing well", while drawing a sad observation: "I understood that, I want it or not, I didn't have ten years ahead of me".
Kate Barry is the first daughter of Jane Birkin, born in London on April 8, 1967 from her marriage to film composer John Barry. A portrait photographer, she spent her life in Paris. When her parents separated, from her first months, Kate Barry was raised by Serge Gainsbourg, new husband of Jane Birkin, then, in her adolescence, by Jacques Doillon, in a relationship with the singer from 1980 to 1992. In 1984, Kate Birkin is a graduate of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris. Discreet and reserved, the young woman fell into alcohol and drug addiction. In 1993, she was behind the creation of Apte (Aid and prevention of drug addiction through mutual aid), based on a London model.
But on Wednesday, December 11, 2013, everything changed. Kate Barry is found dead after falling from the 4th floor of the building where she lived in Paris. She was 46 years old. According to the investigators, who quickly favored the thesis of the defenestration, the photographer was alone in the apartment, closed from the inside, and antidepressants were found on the scene. A terrible drama for Jane Birkin, who confided very little in this regard. However, in 2018, she had said a few words about the death of her eldest daughter at the microphone of France Inter. "When my daughter died, I lost that confidence (about her abilities as a mother, editor's note). I didn't know what to do anymore. I was out of life, finally I was living a kind of life in parallel" , confided the singer.
In 2021, Jane Birkin had to cancel her visit to the Deauville American Film Festival, after suffering a "mild form of cerebrovascular accident" (CVA), her relatives said in a press release published by the AFP in early September 2021. Jane Birkin "is doing well," added the document, which details that this stroke occurred "a few days ago." “She is doing well, so her relatives want us to respect the tranquility necessary for her recovery. Jane is eager to find her audience”, can we read the press release sent to the same source by her agent.
Jane Birkin was therefore unable to go to the Deauville American Film Festival, but also had to cancel her trip to the Ciné Rencontres festival in the Cotentin, where she was expected for the documentary film Jane by Charlotte, directed by her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg and presented out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival.
A week after the announcement of the "light stroke" suffered by Jane Birkin, her daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg, had in turn given the news. "I have a message from my mother. I had her earlier and I know that people are worried about her. She is fine (...) I asked her if she wanted me to say something. She told me 'that everything is fine and that the Nantes University Hospital is great'", explained the actress and singer during the American film festival in Deauville, according to AFP.
Twice in 2023, Jane Birkin had to give up the scene. In a press release relayed by her label, the singer announced last May the cancellation of all her upcoming concerts, until the fall. "By her words Jane Birkin informs her audience that her Parisian dates next month (Olympia and Cigale) are canceled, as is her presence at the next summer festivals", could we read in the press release. Jane Birkin explained in the same document: "I have always been a great optimist, and realize that it still takes me a little while to be able to be on stage again and with you. I love to be with you. I miss you." The singer was also meeting her fans "this fall."
In March 2023, Jane Bikin had already announced the cancellation of her concerts, until this famous date at the Olympia, which was to mark her return to the stage. She was then scheduled to sing at La Cigale on June 22, then tour festivals until next fall. At the beginning of March 2023, Jane Birkin had already canceled a concert in Brittany. "I'm not well at all, I broke my shoulder blade and I'm in a lot of pain," she told Le Télégramme newspaper.