Emotional scenes as family and fans gather to farewell Jane Birkin

Jul 25, 2023
Those close to her gathered to bid farewell at Paris' Saint-Roch Church, while thousands of fans lined the streets to pay tribute. Source: Getty Images.

Friends, family, and fans have united to pay their final respects to the legendary actress, singer, and fashion icon, Jane Birkin.

The iconic figure, best known for her captivating performances on screen and her unforgettable contributions to music, passed away on Sunday, July 16 at the age of 76, leaving behind an enduring legacy that has touched the hearts of millions around the globe.

As the news of her passing broke, tributes poured in from fans, fellow artists, and world leaders alike, all recognising the tremendous impact Birkin had on the entertainment industry and the lasting impression she left on their lives.

While her passing prompted many to celebrate her incredible life, a sombre tone dominated funeral proceedings on Monday, July 24 as those close to her gathered to bid farewell at Paris’ Saint-Roch Church, while thousands of fans lined the streets to pay tribute.

Birkin’s daughters Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon were joined by singer Vanessa Paradis as well as actresses Catherine Deneuve, Charlotte Rampling, and Isabelle Huppert.

Both of Birkin’s daughters delivered moving words for the mother’s send-off.

“I see all your souls in pain without her,” Gainsbourg said.

“I can already see the void she has left in us. She is my mother, she is our mother.”

Doillon expressed her gratitude to her mother “for not having been ordinary, reasonable or docile”.

“The world of tomorrow, very peaceful and reasoned, it already upsets me,” she added.

Born December 14, 1946, Birkin began her acting career with minor roles in films like Michelangelo Antonioni’s Blowup and Kaleidoscope.

In 1968 she crossed paths with Serge Gainsbourg while they co-starred in the movie Slogan, marking the beginning of a significant professional and personal relationship.

While Birkin predominantly worked in French cinema, where she became a major star, she also made appearances in English-language films such as adaptations of Agatha Christie’s  Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun, along with James Ivory’s A Soldier’s Daughter Never Cries.

Following her separation from Gainsbourg in 1980, Birkin continued to pursue her passion for acting and singing. She appeared in various independent films and released several successful solo albums. In 2016, she starred in the Academy Award-nominated short film La femme et le TGV, which she considered to be her final acting role.

Beyond her contributions to the world of entertainment, Birkin’s legacy extends to being the muse behind the iconic Hermès Birkin handbag.

In recognition of her accomplishments in acting, she was bestowed with the prestigious title of OBE.

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