Julian Sands, the British actor who pivoted from the romantic lead in “A Room With a View” to playing sinister characters in films like “Warlock,” was confirmed dead Tuesday after being reported missing near Mt. Baldy in Southern California on Jan. 13. He was 65.
On Saturday morning, hikers found human remains in the Mt. Baldy wilderness and contacted the Fontana Sheriff’s Station.
“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 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,” the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department wrote in a statement.
Sands had gone hiking in the snow-covered Baldy Bowl area, about 45 miles east of Los Angeles. He was an experienced mountaineer, but conditions in the mountains had been treacherous, with the potential of avalanches.
His brother, Nick Sands, told media after his disappearance, “He took risks. He has always been like this: wild, extreme, adventurous; never constrained by rules or boundaries. He’s happiest close to a mountain top on a cold morning.”
Sands appeared in numerous TV series, including playing Superman’s biological father Jor-El in “Smallville” and terrorist Vladimir Bierko in “24.”
He had small roles in films and TV series including “The Killing Fields,” “The Sun Also Rises” and “Oxford Blues” before gaining attention as the free-spirited romantic lead George Emerson in James Ivory’s arthouse hit “A Room With a View.”
Roger Ebert wrote that Sands’ Emerson was his favorite character in the film, “George is my favorite character because he is such a strange bird, so intense, so filled with conviction, so convinced of Lucy’s worth.”
Known for intense roles in thrillers and horror films, Sands played poet Percy Bysshe Shelley in Ken Russell’s period horror film “Gothic.” After moving to Hollywood in the late 1980s, he played the title role in cult horror pic “Warlock,” about the Son of Satan who travels to modern times to destroy the world. and its sequel. He reprised his role in the sequel, “Warlock: The Armageddon.”
Sands chose projects for their sense of adventure, he told the Guardian in 2018. “I was looking for something exotic, things that took me out of myself.”
Some of those adventurous roles in the 1980s and ’90s included Steven Spielberg’s “Arachnophobia,” Dario Argento’s “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” “Naked Lunch,” “Tale of a Vampire,” “Siesta” and “Boxing Helena.” For director Mike Figgis, he starred in “The Loss of Sexual Innocence” and “Timecode.”
More recently, he appeared in Stephen King’s “Rose Red” and as a villain in “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” and on TV series such as “Crossbones,” “Stargate SG-1,” “The L Word,” “The Castle” and “Dexter.”
He also did voices for video games including “Star Wars: The Old Republic” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.”
He is survived by his wife, Evgenia Civkowitz, and three children.