Jane Birkin: The Woman, The Legend, The Bag – Unzipped!

Jane Birkin, the woman whose name graces the arm candy of the rich and famous, bid adieu to the world on July 16, 2023. But oh, what a life she led! From being married to the man who composed the James Bond theme to releasing a song that had the Vatican clutching its pearls, Jane Birkin was anything but ordinary. Here are seven trivia facts that will make you say, “No way, that’s Birkin’ crazy!”

1. A Star is Born

Jane Birkin
Photo: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Jane Mallory Birkin, born on December 14, 1946, was the daughter of Judy Campbell, an actress who entertained British troops during World War II, and Cmdr. David Birkin of the Royal Navy. Talk about a dramatic entrance!

2. Shaken, Not Stirred

At 18, Birkin tied the knot with John Barry, the man behind the iconic James Bond theme. The couple had a daughter, Kate, who probably had the coolest lullabies ever.

3. Love and Lyrics in Paris

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin in 1976
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin in 1976.

Birkin moved to France in the late 1960s and starred in “Slogan” alongside Serge Gainsbourg. The two fell head over heels and began a decade-long relationship. That’s longer than most Hollywood marriages.

4. The Song that Shocked the World

Banned by the Vatican and BBC

In 1969, Birkin and Gainsbourg released “Je t’aime…moi non plus”, a song so explicit that it was banned in several countries (BBC included) and condemned by the Vatican.

5. The Birth of the Birkin Bag

The Birkin Bag, carrying everything a mother needs, and Jane Birkin's name
The Birkin Bag, carrying everything a mother needs, and Jane Birkin’s name. Theorb, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

In 1984, after a flight mishap involving a broken plastic bag, Birkin complained to Hermès chairman Jean-Louis Dumas about the lack of practical designer bags. The result? The Birkin Bag, a luxury accessory so coveted, its value increased by 38% in 2020, outperforming the stock market!

6. Jane Birkin: A Legacy of Style

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin in 2010
Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin in 2010. Photo: Olivier Pacteau from Paris, France, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Birkin’s daughters, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Lou Doillon, followed in their mother’s fashionable footsteps. Her other daughter, Kate Barry, a talented photographer, tragically died in 2013 at 46.

7. The Final Curtain Call

Jane Birkin passed away on July 16, 2023, in Paris. After a mild stroke in 2021, she had been battling health issues. But her legacy? That’s immortal.

News Trivia Quiz Time

Now that you know all the facts about the life and legacy of Jane Birkin, how about a news quiz?

2023 Celebrity Deaths Quiz

23 Multiple-choice general knowledge questions about the famous celebrities, athletes, authors, and leaders we lost this year. No time-limit. How smart are you today?

1 / 23

1. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was the first pope in 600 years to do what?

Photo: Mark Bray, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

2 / 23

2. Which 1970s group sang “I’m So Excited”?

Photo: Rob Mieremet / Anefo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons, colorized

3 / 23

3. What was one of the most famous questions that Barbara Walters asked President Jimmy Carter during her interview?

Photo: White House, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

4 / 23

4. How old was Lisa Marie Presley when her father, Elvis, died?

Screenshot: Letterman – YouTube

5 / 23

5. What TV show originated Detective John Munch’s character?

Screenshot: NBC

6 / 23

6. Where was Olivia Newton-John born?

Screenshot: 9 News Australia – YouTube

7 / 23

7. Who sang Sweet Home Alabama, the 1974 southern rock anthem that dissed Neil Young?

Screenshot: Lynyrd Skynyrd – YouTube

8 / 23

8. What is the birthplace of Barry Humphries, the comedy genius who created Dame Edna Everage?

Screenshot: ABC News Australia

9 / 23

9. Jerry Springer hosted which prime-time competition?

Screenshot: Jerry Springer – YouTube

10 / 23

10. Where did soccer legend Pelé end up after kicking his last bucket?

Screenshot: Associated Press – YouTube

11 / 23

11. Why was Ted Kaczynski called the Unabomber?

Screenshot: FBI

12 / 23

12. How many times did Silvio Berlusconi, the scandalous billionaire and media mogul, serve as Italy’s prime minister?

Screenshot: European People’s Party, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

13 / 23

13. What was the name of the hippie leader played by Treat Williams in the 1979 musical film Hair?

Screenshot: Hair / MGM

14 / 23

14. Which of these authors did Stephen King call “maybe the greatest American novelist of my time”?

Screenshot: Oprah

15 / 23

15. Which of these unforgettable appearances did NOT earn the late Alan Arkin an Oscar nomination?

Screenshot: Glengarry Glen Ross / New Line Cinema

16 / 23

16. What is the Birkin Bag?

Photo: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

17 / 23

17. Which famous person’s photo did Sinéad O’Connor tear up on live TV in 1992, causing controversy and backlash?

Photo: Bryan Ledgard, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

18 / 23

18. How old was Tina Turner when she recorded her first solo album?

Photo: Philip Spittle, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

19 / 23

19. Which mastermind directed the 1985 cinematic gem, “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure”?

Screenshot: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure / Warner Bros. Pictures

20 / 23

20. Which beach-loving singer had ‘Parrot Heads’ flocking to his tours?

Photo: Taps staff, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, Colorized

21 / 23

21. Which band, known for making us all feel like “rockstars” in the late ’90s, belted out the iconic tune “All Star” (Hey now, you’re an all star / Get your game on, go play)?

Screenshot: All Star (Official Music Video) – YouTube

22 / 23

22. Who was the world’s first cloned mammal?

Photo: Sgerbic, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

23 / 23

23. In the iconic TV show “Friends,” which quirky pets did Chandler and Joey proudly own in their New York apartment?

Screenshot: Friends / Max

Challenge your friends to see if any of them can do any better!

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Come back tomorrow for another quiz!


We cross-checked our Jane Birkin trivia facts with the world’s finest news providers.