The world of showbusiness was in mourning today for actor Paul Daneman - best known for his role in the BBC1 drama series Spy Trap - who has died at the age of 75.

His wife, novelist Meredith Daneman, said he died at 3am yesterday at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, in London, after a long battle against heart disease.

Daneman had suffered a heart attack when he was 53 while acting on the West End stage. He used his experience of recovering from the attack as the basis for a successful comedy series, Affairs of the Heart, he wrote for ITV.

As a young man he studied fine art at university but abandoned a career as a painter in favour of acting.

Daneman got his taste for the stage after entertaining troops in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

He met Meredith when she was a young ballet dancer playing Helen in Dr Faustus at the Old Vic and he was the glamorous leading man.

At that time he was married to his first wife, Susan, but they later divorced.

He and Susan had adopted a daughter, Kate, and Daneman later had two more daughters with Meredith, Sophie, 35, an opera singer, and Flora, 28, an illustrator.

The actor, whose German grandfather settled in England before the First World War, enjoyed a varied career after a scholarship to RADA.

He played a range of characters from Richard III at the Old Vic to King Arthur in the musical Camelot.

He also turned his hand to radio broadcasts, once saying: ''It's the only medium where the thin man is allowed to play Falstaff.''

In the seventies he starred in domestic comedies on television including Never a Cross Word, and opposite Wendy Craig in Not In Front of the Children.

When his health hampered his ability to act he wrote a novel, If I Only Had Wings.

Mrs Daneman, 59, speaking from the home the couple shared for 25 years in Putney, south west London, said: ''He was a superb man, gallant and enormous fun.

''He had the talent to enthral and told the most amazing stories. He had magic.''