Philip Seymour Hoffman’s younger sister will forever remember him as a “cuddly person”.

The troubled ‘Punch Drunk Love’ actor was found dead on 2 February, 2014, aged 46 in his Manhattan apartment with a syringe in his arm after he accidentally overdosed on drugs including heroin and cocaine – and his paediatric nurse sibling Emily Barr has now written an essay about him for The Paris Review to mark what would have been his 56th birthday.

She said in the piece: “He was a cuddly person, much more so than me.

“He loved to sit close on a couch, walk arm in arm down the street and hug big.”

Emily added the “loud parts” he had on screen reflected his jolly personality.

She said: “The way he would jump up and dance around when teasing you – even after you’d pleaded for him to stop, he just couldn’t help poking fun one last time.”

Emily also said Philip secretly based his physical and emotional comedy on the acting of one of his big-screen heroes, Gene Wilder.

She added one of her brother’s “absolute favourite” films was 1975’s ‘The Adventure of Sherlock Holmes’ Smarter Brother’, in which the late Gene plays Sigerson Holmes.

Emily said: “I could swear that Phil based much of his acting technique on watching Gene Wilder scenes like this over and over as a kid.

“The physical comedy is subtle in that the main character is unaware of his buffoonery – only the audience is in on the joke.

“Phil did this a lot: we would know that something was up, but the character himself was often clueless.”

Emily said Philip’s scene-stealing roles in Ben Stiller comedy ‘Along Came Polly’, as well as porn drama ‘Boogie Nights’ and ‘Charlie Wilson’s War’ were great examples of his “loud, obnoxious physicality”.

But she stresses he was also capable of being hugely subtle on screen, saying his roles in ‘The Savages’, ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ and ‘Capote’ showed he was adept at being “more nuanced”.

Emily went on: “Even now, when I watch Phil playing these parts in films that now capture a distant past, in roles that have become familiar to us, I can see so much of who he was.”

Referring to the children’s mystery series Philip “loved” growing up, she recalled: “He’d wrap his big arm around me, and we would walk a little quicker as the temperature dropped and the sun set lower in the sky.

“We would talk, like when we were kids, imagining the story of Encyclopedia Brown trying to solve ‘The Case of the Vanishing Actor’, which takes place in a library with a small wooden door.”

Dad-of-three Philip first got hooked on drugs at university, saying in a 2006 chat with ‘60 Minutes’: “I likes it all.”

He went into rehab aged 22 in 1989, and statues sober for 23 years before relapsing in 2012, prompting another stay at a rehabilitation facility for drug use that lasted only 10 days in May 2013.