Julian Sands, Renowned Actor, Confirmed Dead After Tragic Hiking Accident on California Mountain – TheFantasyTimes

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By Jitin Gambhir

Death | Actor Julian Sands died while hiking on California mountain, authorities confirm

Julian Sands, a renowned actor known for his roles in Oscar-nominated films such as “A Room With a View” and “Leaving Las Vegas,” has been discovered deceased on a mountain in Southern California. The authorities have confirmed that the remains found near Mount Baldy belong to Sands.

On January 13, Sands, a 65-year-old avid hiker who resided in Los Angeles, went missing while hiking on the peak that stands over 10,000 feet (3,048 meters) east of the city. Despite multiple search operations utilizing drones and helicopters, the wintry conditions made it difficult to locate him until the hikers stumbled upon his remains.

The cause of his death has not been determined by the authorities at this time.

Sands, originally from England, had a prolific career spanning over 40 years with more than 150 credits in film and television. He gained recognition for his roles in acclaimed films throughout the late 1980s and 1990s.

After studying at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, Sands made his debut in both stage and film productions. His breakthrough came in 1985 when he starred as George Emerson in the British romance “A Room With a View,” directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. The film received critical acclaim and won several awards.

Following the success of “A Room With a View,” Sands relocated to the United States to pursue a career in Hollywood. He took on various notable roles, including the titular character in the horror fantasy “Warlock” and its sequel, as well as an entomologist specializing in spiders in the horror comedy “Arachnophobia.”

In 1991, Sands appeared in director David Cronenberg’s adaptation of William Burroughs’ novel “Naked Lunch.” He also starred in the thriller “Boxing Helena” in 1993, alongside Sherilyn Fenn.

Although Sands was considered for the role of Lestat in the 1994 film adaptation of Anne Rice’s “Interview With the Vampire,” the part ultimately went to Tom Cruise.

In “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995), Sands portrayed an abusive Latvian pimp alongside Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue. The film received critical acclaim and garnered multiple Oscar nominations.


In a 2020 interview, Sands expressed his love for the outdoors and revealed his aspiration to conquer remote peaks in the high Himalayas.

Throughout his career, Sands continued to work in both film and television, appearing in projects such as “The Million Dollar Hotel” directed by Wim Wenders and “The Phantom of the Opera” directed by Dario Argento. He also made guest appearances on popular TV series including “24,” “Medici,” “Smallville,” “Dexter,” “Gotham,” and “Elementary.” His final film was “The Ghosts of Monday” released in 2022.

Sands, born in Yorkshire, had three children and had been married to journalist Evgenia Citkowitz since 1990.

Shortly before his discovery, Sands’ family released a statement honoring his memory as a loving father, husband, nature enthusiast, and talented performer.

Actor Julian Sands, who starred in several Oscar-nominated films in the late 1980s and 90s including “A Room With a View” and “Leaving Las Vegas,” was found dead on a Southern California mountain five months after he disappeared while hiking, authorities said here.

An investigation confirmed that it was Sands whose remains hikers found Sunday in wilderness near Mount Baldy, the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department said on Tuesday.

The 65-year-old actor was a longtime avid hiker who lived in Los Angeles and was reported missing January 13 after setting out on the peak that rises more than 10,000 feet (3,048 metres) east of the city. Crews aided by drones and helicopters had searched for him several times, but, severely hampered by wintry conditions that lasted through spring, no sign of him was found until the hikers came upon him.

It has not yet been determined how he died, authorities said.

Sands, who was born, raised and began acting in England, worked constantly in film and television, amassing more than 150 credits in a 40-year career. During a 10-year span from 1985 to 1995, he played major roles in a series of acclaimed films.

After studying at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, Sands embarked on a career in stage and film, playing small parts in films including “Oxford Blues” and “The Killing Fields.” He landed the starring role of George Emerson, who falls in love with Helena Bonham Carter’s Lucy Honeychurch while on holiday in Tuscany, in the 1985 British romance, “A Room With a View.”

The film from director James Ivory and producer Ismail Merchant won the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for best film, and was nominated for eight Oscars, winning three.

In the wake of its success, Sands moved to the United States to pursue a career in Hollywood.

He played the title role in the 1989 horror fantasy “Warlock” and its sequel. In the 1990 horror comedy “Arachnophobia,” with Jeff Daniels and John Goodman, Sands played an entomologist specializing in spiders.

The following year he appeared in director David Cronenberg’s surreal adaptation of the William Burroughs novel “Naked Lunch” in 1991.

In 1993, Sands starred in the thriller “Boxing Helena,” a movie that drew major media attention during production when Madonna and Kim Basinger each accepted the title role before backing out. The part would go to “Twin Peaks” actor Sherilyn Fenn. The film flopped.

Author Anne Rice championed Sands to play the titular Lestat in the much-hyped 1994 Hollywood adaptation of her novel “Interview With the Vampire,” but the role would go to Tom Cruise.

In 1995’s “Leaving Las Vegas,” Sands played an abusive Latvian pimp alongside Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue. The film was nominated for four Oscars, with Cage winning best actor.

Sands touted his love of the outdoors in a 2020 interview with the Guardian, saying he was happiest when “close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning” and that his biggest dream was scaling “a remote peak in the high Himalayas, such as Makalu.”

The actor said in the interview that in the early 1990s, he was caught in an “atrocious” storm in the Andes and was lucky to survive when three others near his party didn’t.

After “Leaving Las Vegas,” the quality of the films Sands was cast in, and the size of his roles, began declining. He worked steadily, appearing in director Wim Wenders’ “The Million Dollar Hotel” and director Dario Argento’s “The Phantom of the Opera.”

He also appeared as a guest star or in recurring roles on TV series including “24,” “Medici,” “Smallville,” “Dexter,” “Gotham” and “Elementary.” His final film was 2022’s “The Ghosts of Monday.”

Sands was born in Yorkshire, the middle child of five brothers raised by a single mother. He had three children of his own.

He had been married since 1990 to journalist Evgenia Citkowitz, with whom he had two adult daughters, Imogen Morley Sands and Natalya Morley Sands. His eldest child was son Henry Sands, whom he had with his first wife, journalist Sarah Harvey.

A few days before he was found, Sands’ family issued a statement saying, “We continue to hold Julian in our hearts with bright memories of him as a wonderful father, husband, explorer, lover of the natural world and the arts, and as an original and collaborative performer.”

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