Julian Sands, 65, actor who went missing in San Gabriel Mountains, found dead

Julian Sands arrives at the 2020 Chanel Pre-Oscar Dinner at The Beverly Hills Hotel on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020, in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

British actor Julian Sands, known for films such as "A Room With a View" and "Warlock," has died after going missing in California's San Gabriel Mountains. He was 65.

Remains found Saturday on Mt. Baldy are those of Sands, the San Bernardino County coroner's office confirmed Tuesday. The cause of death is pending further test results.

In a statement shared with the Los Angeles Times, Sands' manager, Sarah Jackson, said the actor "was a great friend and client."

"He chose interesting projects that mattered to him and was adored by everyone who worked with him," Jackson said. "He was a passionate climber, and we draw [consolation] from knowing that he passed in a place he loved, doing what he loved. We are filled with the most beautiful memories."

The search for Sands concluded Saturday, more than five months after he was reported missing in the Mt. Baldy area on Jan. 13. Hikers discovered Sands' body Saturday morning and notified authorities, according to a news release. The body was transported from the wilderness to the county coroner’s office for formal identification.

Read more: Julian Sands' remains found in Mt. Baldy area, San Bernardino officials confirm

Sands' death was announced less than a week after the Sheriff's Department resumed its search. In the search's first months, storms blanketed Mt. Baldy — considered one of the most dangerous mountains in the U.S. — with snow, hindering crew efforts.

Since launching its search in January, the Sheriff’s Department completed eight aerial and ground searches.

Read more: Julian Sands' loved ones say 'wonderful' actor is 'in our hearts' as search continues

Sands was an avid mountaineer. In 2020, he told the Guardian he was happiest when “close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning." He also noted a close brush with death in the early 1990s, when he and three other hikers were caught in "an atrocious storm above 20,000 [feet]" while trekking in the Andes Mountains.

“Mountain climbing and film making are very connected,” Sands told the Yorkshire Post in a 2013 article. “There’s always another mountain. And ultimately the point of climbing a mountain is that the mountain is within. And I think that’s true, too, of the acting experience.”

Read more: Julian Sands, Tired of Twit Bits, Likes 'Warlock' Role

Sands' career included roles in films and on television. After taking on minor parts in several movies in the early 1980s, the actor gained popularity with James Ivory’s romance "A Room With a View" in 1985. He went on to appear in dozens of films and several series, including "24" and "Banshee."

When his career began taking off, Sands told The Times in 1987, "There is such an element of luck in this business."

Born Jan. 4, 1958, in the United Kingdom, Sands attended Lord Wandsworth College and earned his first professional acting credit in an episode of "Play for Today" in 1982, according to online movie database IMDb. Roles in the film "Privates on Parade" and the Anthony Hopkins-led miniseries "A Married Man" followed.

In 1984, he starred alongside Rob Lowe in the low-budget "Oxford Blues," a film Sands said he regrets and dubbed "the original 'B' movie." In the same year, he married journalist Sarah Sands (née Harvey), with whom he shares son Henry. They divorced in 1987.

A blond man in a suit holds the shoulders of a blond woman in a strapless dress holding an award.
Julian Sands embraces "Siesta" co-star Jodie Foster at the Governors Ball at the Shrine Auditorium in March 1989 after she won an Oscar for "The Accused." (Lennox McLendon / Associated Press)

Sands wooed audiences in 1985's "A Room With a View," in which he starred alongside Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott and Helena Bonham Carter. Set in the early 20th century, the period drama introduced Sands as a new Hollywood love interest.

Sands graced the screen as the free-spirited, love-struck George Emerson. In its review, The Times noted, "Sands conveys George’s headlong passion for life with intelligence and a handsomeness that seems somehow to refract light with a special intensity."

Among his memorable scenes was a romantic kiss with Bonham Carter's Lucy in a picturesque poppy field in Italy.

Sands received fan letters about that moment and reveled in the film's commercial and critical success.


"It seems to suggest that a lot of people have been yearning to see a little romance on the screen," he told The Times in 1987. "In recent years filmmakers seem to have been embarrassed by romance and steered well clear of it. Maybe ‘A Room With a View’ will change that slightly."

What the movie did change was Sands' show-business standing. Demand increased. The actor booked the key role of Percy Bysshe Shelley in Ken Russell’s "Gothic." He described working on the film as "being in the midst of a fireworks display."

As the years went on, Sands appeared alongside even more Hollywood stars — Jodie Foster and Isabella Rossellini in "Siesta," and Jeff Goldblum and Cyndi Lauper in "Vibes." He also moved from London to New York.

He had the title role in Steve Miner's "Warlock." The 1989 horror film allowed Sands to expand his talents beyond the small roles that defined his early career and sink his teeth into darker material.

A man in a white button-up shirt and a black blazer
Julian Sands attends the "24" Season 5 DVD release party in Los Angeles on Dec. 4, 2006. (Phil McCarten / Associated Press)

"I am the prince of malevolence,” he said in 1991. “[Warlock's] so totally bad there is something attractive and pure about his evil. He is dedicated in his desire to create horror.”

In 1990, he remarried. He and journalist Evgenia Citkowitz share two daughters, Natalya and Imogen Sands.

The ’90s proved to be another fruitful decade for the actor, with roles in films including "Arachnophobia" and "Leaving Las Vegas." Sands also tried his hand at more experimental, controversial roles.

A woman in a green jacket and jeans poses with a man in a white button-down shirt and black suit.
Julian Sands poses with wife Evgenia Citkowitz at the 16th Millennium Awards on June 2, 2012, in Santa Monica. (Jordan Strauss / Invision / Associated Press)

In David Cronenberg's 1991 film adaptation of William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch," Sands portrayed a young Swiss man who was really a giant shape-shifting centipede.

For Jennifer Lynch's critically panned "Boxing Helena," Sands played a disturbed surgeon who takes extreme, unethical measures to earn a woman's affection.

"I was looking for something exotic, things that took me out of myself,” he told the Guardian in 2018. “I think I found myself a little boring.”

Read more: 'Boxing Helena'

When it came to television, Sands had roles in series including "24," "The Blacklist," "Banshee" and "Dexter." Additional TV credits include "The L Word," "Crossbones," "Jackie Chan Adventures" and "Gotham."

Reflecting on the minor roles that helped him break through (including a part in Roland Joffé’s Oscar-nominated "The Killing Fields"), Sands told The Times in 1987 that he wasn't expecting much to come of them.

“The role was so tiny I’m surprised that people even remember me,” he said. “But they seem to, which is gratifying.”

Sands is survived by wife Evgenia, their two daughters, Natalya and Imogen; son Henry Sands; and four brothers.

No plans for a memorial have been revealed.

Times staff writers Christi Carras, Jonah Valdez and Matt Hamilton contributed to this report.

Sign up for L.A. Goes Out, a weekly newsletter about exploring and experiencing Los Angeles from the L.A. Times.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.