Where is Julian Sands?

Actor who starred in A Room with a View has been missing since he went hiking near LA in ‘dangerous’ conditions

Julian Sands in Los Angeles in 2015
Julian Sands was reported missing almost two weeks ago
(Image credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

The brother of the missing actor Julian Sands has said he “knows in his heart” that his sibling may not be found.

Yorkshire-born Sands, who has more than 150 screen credits to his name, went missing two weeks ago while hiking near Mount Baldy, California, approximately 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.

The actor’s friends, including Matthew Modine, Rufus Sewell and film producer Frank Marshall, have all expressed hope that Sands will be found safely. But his brother, Nick Sands, told the Telegraph & Argus that he fears Julian may never be seen again.

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“He has not yet been declared missing, presumed dead, but I know in my heart that he has gone,” Nick Sands told the Yorkshire paper. “However, sibling rivalry being what it is, it would be just like him to walk out of there and prove me wrong.”

When did Sands disappear?

At 7.30pm on Friday 13 January, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department received a report that the 65-year-old Sands had gone missing while hiking. Search and rescue teams immediately started looking for the actor.

Conditions locally were difficult following snow and storms. The sheriff’s department had “warned hikers to ‘stay away’ from that area, adding it was ‘extremely dangerous’, even for experienced hikers”, said the BBC.

The search was called off the following day due to the risk of avalanche and dangerous trail conditions, but the rescue effort continued using drones.

On Sunday 15 January, the last “ping” from Sands’ mobile phone indicated that it had either been switched off or run out of battery. Three days later, a car believed to belong to Sands was found near the scene in Mount Baldy. Video footage appeared online of the vehicle being towed away.

On Monday, the US National Weather Service reported high winds across the Santa Ana mountain region and San Bernardino, close to the area where Sands is believed to have gone hiking. Sands’ family issued a statement thanking authorities for their “heroic” search efforts, which were still ongoing.

Authorities are currently searching for him by air only.

Who is Julian Sands?

Born in Otley, Yorkshire, Sands came to global fame when he played George Emerson in the 1985 British film A Room with a View, which won three Oscars.

He has appeared in scores of TV shows and films, including The Killing Fields, Warlock, Arachnophobia, Boxing Helena and Leaving Las Vegas.

He lives in the North Hollywood neighbourhood of Los Angeles with his wife, writer Evgenia Citkowitz, and their two children. He was previously married to Sarah Sands, the former editor of the Evening Standard and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, with whom he has a son.

Sands has talked in the past about his “love of hiking and mountain climbing”, the BBC said. When asked in 2020 what made him happy, he replied being “close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning”.

What happened to Sands?

In his interview with the Telegraph & Argus, Nick Sands expressed concerns about his brother’s welfare.

The Mount Baldy area was “his favourite place” in LA, Sands told the paper, and “he would go there as often as he could”.

He added: “Julian liked to say ‘I have never had a holiday but I do rest occasionally’ – well he’s resting now in a place he would truly approve of.”

He said that the longer the search for his brother continues, the more pessimistic he has become. But despite their dwindling hopes, on Monday the Sands family thanked the authorities for their efforts in trying to find the actor.

“Our heartfelt thanks to the compassionate members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department who are coordinating the search for our beloved Julian, not least the heroic search teams… who are braving difficult conditions on the ground and in the air to bring Julian home,” their statement said. “We are deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support.”

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Arion McNicoll is a freelance writer at The Week Digital and was previously the UK website’s editor. He has also held senior editorial roles at CNN, The Times and The Sunday Times. Along with his writing work, he co-hosts “Today in History with The Retrospectors”, Rethink Audio’s flagship daily podcast, and is a regular panellist (and occasional stand-in host) on “The Week Unwrapped”. He is also a judge for The Publisher Podcast Awards.