Actor Julian Sands has died in a winter hiking accident, a sad end to a search that lasted more than five months. Sands went missing in the Mount Baldy area of the San Gabriel mountains in southern California, where his remains were finally discovered by civilian hikers on Saturday.
The 65-year-old actor was an avid hiker and an experienced mountaineer. He went missing after a solo hike around Baldy Bowl, about 50 miles northeast of Los Angeles, on January 13.
He played the Doci, leader of the Ori’s human worshipers, on Stargate SG-1.
After the actor went missing the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s Department conducted multiple searches on the ground and by air, sometimes forced to pause due to weather, dangerous trail conditions, and avalanche risks. The mountain has received a 40-year-high snowfall, forcing the search to pause multiple times since the actor first went missing.
Today the San Bernadino County Sheriff’s office confirmed that the remains found over the weekend have been positively identified as Julian Sands. The manner of death is still under investigation, pending further test results.
Last week the actor’s family released a statement expressing gratitude to the search teams:
We are deeply grateful to the search teams and coordinators who have worked tirelessly to find Julian.
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.
Sands achieved fame in the 1980s in films like A Room with a View, The Killing Fields, Stephen Spielberg’s Arachnophobia, and the 1995 film Leaving Las Vegas.
Stargate fans came to know Julian Sands in the role of the Doci, a powerful religious leader in the service of the Ori, during Stargate SG-1‘s final story arc. He guest starred in the ninth season episode “Origin,” with archival footage again being used in the mid-season finale “The Fourth Horseman.” He returned to the role to help close out the story in the 2008 DVD movie Stargate: The Ark of Truth.
Sands’ work on Stargate was a rare trip into the science fiction genre for the 40-year career of the actor, who was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire, England in 1958. Sands also did voiceover work for the 2011 video game Star Wars: The Old Republic. On the comic book side, Sands played Superman’s father Jor-El in two episodes of Smallville, and Gerald Crane — a precursor of the Batman villain Scarecrow — on Gotham.
He also starred as the titular characters in the 1989 fantasy thriller Warlock and the 1996 TV movie The Tomorrow Man. His credits span more than 155 film and television projects.
He once said that he was at his happiest “close to a mountain summit on a glorious cold morning.”
Sands is survived by his wife and their two children, along with a third child from a previous relationship. The Stargate fan community mourns Julian’s tragic loss, and our heartfelt prayers go out to his family and loved ones.