In contrast to Alan Rickman's often sneering and supercilious screen persona, fellow actors lamented the death of a warm, witty and generous friend. Actor Ian McKellan said Mr Rickman and Rima Horton were always top of his "dream-list dinner guests". "Alan would by turns be hilarious and indignant and gossipy and generous"
Mr Rickman leaves behind him a legendary body of work spanning screen, TV and stage. His earliest successes came with theatre roles in productions of The Seagull and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Hollywood stardom followed soon after, with breakthrough roles as terrorist Hans Gruber in 1988 hit Die Hard
The iconic American superhero is a Brit now. Behind Spider-Man's mask, at the wheel of the Batmobile and now under Superman's cape, a British heart beats - against impressive pectorals.