By Steve Gorman
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The search for British-born film star Julian Sands, best known for his role in “A Room with a View,” pressed on for a sixth day in the snow-covered mountains of Southern California with no sign of the 65-year-old actor, authorities said on Thursday.
The performer was reported missing on Friday evening, Jan. 13, after he had gone hiking alone in the Baldy Bowl area of the San Gabriel Mountains, about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of Los Angeles, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.
A search was immediately initiated in the area, but ground teams were pulled out on Saturday evening due to avalanche risks and poor trail conditions, said the sheriff’s department spokesperson Mara Rodriguez.
Intermittent aerial searches by helicopter and drone aircraft have continued, however, and authorities planned to resume a ground search once conditions allow, she said.
“We had an air crew up today and there were no signs of Mr. Sands,” Rodriguez told Reuters by email.
The Baldy Bowl, a large sloping area below the crest of the Mount Baldy ski area, is a popular destination for skiers, climbers and backpackers. And Rodriguez said Sands was believed to be an experienced hiker.
Cellphone signals detected on Sunday, Jan. 15, showed Sands was then heading to the Mount Baldy area, apparently the latest indication he was still on the move.
Subsequent attempts to “ping” his Apple iPhone failed, “due to the lack of cell service and most likely cell phone power failure,” the department said in an update posted on Thursday.
A “delayed ping” from Sands’ iPhone operating system, generated on Jan. 14, provided a possible location on a trail to the Mount Baldy summit, but checks of that spot by ground and helicopter teams were of no avail, the department said.
The Sheriff’s Department has warned that severe winter weather, following weeks of storms that dumped heavy snow in California mountains, has made the Baldy area dangerous for outdoor recreation. Overnight temperatures there have ranged from the low-40s to the mid-20s Fahrenheit (4 to minus 4 degrees Celsius) over the past week, Rodriguez said.
Over the past four weeks, sheriff search teams have been dispatched on 14 rescue missions on Mount Baldy and surrounding areas for lost or stranded hikers, two of whom perished after falling or injuring themselves, the agency said.
Sands’ Los Angeles-based representative could not immediately be reached for comment.
Born in England, Sands moved to California in the 1980s to pursue a Hollywood career after the success of the 1985 film “A Room with a View,” a period romance in which he was cast as the leading man opposite Helena Bonham Carter.
He also starred as the son of Satan in the 1989 supernatural thriller “Warlock” and its sequel “Warlock: The Armageddon.” He played the title role in the 1998 film version of “The Phantom of the Opera,” and starred opposite martial-arts performer Jackie Chan in the 2003 action-comedy “The Medallion.”
Other motion picture credits include “The Killing Fields,” “Arachnophobia,” “Naked Lunch,” “Boxing Helena,” “Leaving Las Vegas,” and the English-language remake of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Neil Fullick and Marguerita Choy)