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Jane Birkin has sadly passed away at the age of 76. The London born actress and singer, who has lived in Paris for most of her adult live, was found dead in her France home per CNN‘s affiliate BFMTV as well as the French Culture Ministry on Sunday, July 16.

Her passing comes after several health struggles, including a stroke in September 2021. She also broke her shoulder in May 2022, and postponed a number of Paris concerts in March 2022 while she recovered. “I’ve always been a big optimist, and I realize that it still takes me a little while to be able to be on stage again and with you. I love being with you so much,” she said to press and her fans via a statement last year.

Jane Birkin has passed away. (Laurent Vu/SIPA/Shutterstock)

Learn more about the actress who inspired the famed Hermès Birkin bag her.

She was born in London

Jane was born to Judy Campbell, an actress, and David Birkin, a naval officer on December 14, 1946 in Marylebone, London. She also had a brother Andrew Birkin. She was educated in the United Kingdom at Miss Ironside’s School in Kensington, then the Upper Chine School, Isle of Wight.

She married at just 17

Jane was a young bride, and walked down the aisle with James Bond composer John Barry back in 1965. The couple welcomed their daughter Kate Barry in 1967 — but sadly the couple divorced just a year later. Notably, Kate passed away in 2013 at the age of 46, and was known in the fashion industry as a photographer for Vogue.

After splitting from John, she then married Serge Gainsbourg, and the pair went on to become one of Paris’ most iconic couples through their union which lasted from 1968 – 1980. Jane and Serge also had a daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg.

In 1980, she married Jacques Doillon, welcoming her third daughter Lou Doillon. The couple divorced in 1990.

She inspired the Hermès Birkin bag

The Hermès Birkin remains the most exclusive and sought after designer handbag of today. The bag was created by the Parisian luxury label in 1984 after Jane enamored former Hermès CEO Jean-Louis Dumas during a flight from Paris to her hometown of London. During the conversation, the two allegedly discussed Jane’s challenges to find a bag that fit everything she needed as a then-mom of two younger children — leading him to create the Birkin tote.

In 2015, however, Jane made it clear she wanted her name removed from the designer item. While the original bags were leather, other variations have emerged over the years in rarer materials, such as crocodile skin — which she no longer approved of as a PETA spokesperson and animal activist.

“Having been alerted to the cruel practices endured by crocodiles during their slaughter for the production of Hermès bags carrying my name … I have asked Hermès Group to rename the Birkin until better practices responding to international norms can be implemented for the production of this bag,” she stated at the time in response to a video showing alleged inhumane practices on the reptiles.

The label refused to drop the name, and retorted back with a statement of their own. “Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years. Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast,” they said.

She was an actress and singer

Jane began auditioning for roles in the late 1960s, despite feeling insecure about her looks from school days. “I suffered a lot because of my physique, especially at boarding school. The others said I was half boy, half girl. I had no breasts, not even a developing bosom. It was horrible,” she explained during an interview.

Jane Birkin is seen in her younger years. (Fremantle Media/Shutterstock)

Her first appearance was an uncredited role in 1965’s The Knack …and How to Get It — but it was the next year that she really blew up on the scene. In 1966, she starred in Blow Up (which also included a scandalous nude scene), followed by Kaleidoscope and Wonderwall. In 1968, she met husband-to-be Serge as they performed La Chanson de Slogan for the French film Slogan — which went on to birth a series of movies they worked on together. The two also did duet “Je t’aime… moi non plus” together, despite him originally writing the song for Brigitte Bardot. The song was banned by the Vatican and in several countries for sexual content, but went on to become #1 in the United Kingdom.

She was awarded Order of the British Empire

Jane was awarded an OBE title in 2001 for her for contributions to acting and Anglo-French cultural relations, as she leaved in France most of her adult live.

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