Though fans and friends prayed that Julian Sands would be returned safely after he was reported missing following a hike on California’s Mt. Baldy, those hopes were dashed on June 27. Julian, who graced the silver and small screens since his breakout in the early 1980s, was declared dead. He was 65. Human remains that were found by hikers in the Mount Baldy wilderness outside Los Angeles, CA on Saturday morning were confirmed to be the actor’s, according to the San Bernadino Sheriff’s Department.
“The identification process for the body located on Mt. Baldy on June 24, 2023, has been completed and was positively identified as 65-year-old Julian Sands of North Hollywood,” the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “The manner of death is still under investigation, pending further test results. We would like to extend our gratitude to all the volunteers that worked tirelessly to locate Mr. Sands.”
Julian was reported missing since Friday, Jan. 13, 2023, after the British actor went hiking in the Southern California mountains. Rescue crews looked for him in the San Gabriel Mountains, about 40 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, according to the Associated Press. Unfortunately, the search crews on the ground had to suspend their efforts that Saturday due to trail conditions and avalanche risks. They continued the search for Sands with helicopters and drones, weather permitting, and said they’d resume the ground search when the conditions were safe.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department warned hikers about visiting Mt. Baldy, where high winds and ice made the trails treacherous. “Over the last four weeks, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue (SAR) Teams have responded to 14 rescue missions on Mt Baldy and in the surrounding area,” the department said in a Facebook post. “These rescue missions have been for lost, stranded, and/or injured hikers. Unfortunately, during these past 4 weeks, two hikers did not survive after falling and injuring themselves.”
“Please know the current conditions on Mt Baldy are adverse and extremely dangerous,” the post continued. “Due to the high winds, the snow has turned to ice, making hiking extremely dangerous. Sheriff’s Search and Rescue efforts are often hampered by poor weather along with dangerous avalanche conditions. The recent storms that brought the snow and ice conditions are not favorable for hikers, even those that feel they have a high level of experience.”
Eleven days into searching for Julian, San Bernardino County officials took to Twitter to update everyone on the ongoing search. “As we enter day 11 of the search for Julian Sands on Mt. Baldy, we are reminded of the sheer determination & selflessness of all of the people who have aided in this search. We will continue to utilize the resources available to us,” the tweet read. In addition, they also shared an official statement from Julian’s family. “We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support,” the statement read on Jan. 23, 2023. “Our heartfelt thanks to the compassionate members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who are coordinating the search for our beloved Julian.”
As we enter day 11 of the search for Julian Sands on Mt. Baldy, we are reminded of the sheer determination & selflessness of all of the people who have aided in this search. We will continue to utilize the resources available to us. The family would like to share this statement: pic.twitter.com/owO2o97f16
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) January 23, 2023
One day after his family’s moving statement, his brother, Nick Sands told the U.K.’s Craven Herald & Pioneer, via BBC News, that he believed Julian to be “gone” after the ongoing search. “I have come to terms with the fact he’s gone and for me that’s how I’ve dealt with it,” Nick told the outlet on Jan. 24. “We are all still hoping I guess, but I know he’s gone in my mind and because of that I’ve already said my goodbyes.” Nick also noted that he last saw Julian in Oct. 2022, and had plans to meet up with him at the end of Jan. 2023.
“He has not yet been declared missing, presumed dead, but I know in my heart that he has gone. However sibling rivalry being what it is, it would be just like him to walk out of there and prove me wrong,” he told the outlet. “On Monday, he had planned to join his brothers for our Monday Club for a beer in Skipton; he will be missed, and I guess we will raise a glass to him.” One of the most recent updates from the county officials was on Feb. 10, 2023, as reported by PEOPLE. The officials said, “we remain hopeful but know the outcome may not be what we would like.”
Born in Yorkshire, England, Julian studied at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama. He began his career in the 1980s, appearing in films like Oxford Blues and Privates on Parades. In 1984, he appeared in Roland Joffé’s The Killing Fields. The following year, he appeared in A Room with a View, which was considered his standout role. Since then, Julian would make noted appearances in such video store staples as Arachnophobia, Warlock, Naked Lunch, Boxing Helena, and Dario Argento’s 1998 adaptation of The Phantom Of the Opera. Julian played minor roles in Ocean’s Thirteen and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Well, I always wanted a career in the English theater,” Julian told Decider in 2019. “But the film thing just sort of opened up, and as an actor, you’re subject to the whims of providence, and you go with whatever flow comes your way, you know? You jump on the bus that stops at your stop! So getting involved with film quite early on in my career was not something I anticipated – or even sought! – but once I had the experience of it, I realized what a fabulous medium it was.”
“The scope, the depth, the breadth of possibilities were thrilling, and I sort of made a choice to stay available to do film work rather than getting tied up in theater contracts…if they had been offered to me!” he continued. “So for maybe 20 years I only worked on film. Although I love doing theater now. But to see a script like Into the Dark, which had this great and powerful theatrical feeling was a delicious and delightful and irresistible gift.”
Julian was also a dedicated mountaineer. When The Guardian asked him in 2020 when he was the “happiest,” the actor replied, “Close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning.”
“In the early 90s, in the Andes, [I was] caught in an atrocious storm above 20,000ft with three others,” he told The Guardian. “We were all in a very bad way. Some guys close to us perished; we were lucky.” Julian was married to Sarah Harvey from 1984 to 1987. They share one child, a son. In 1990, he married Evgenia Citkowitz. They welcomed two daughters together.
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