‘Doing what he loved best’: The last pictures actor Julian Sands sent to grandson of snow-capped mountaintop

‘Doing what he loved best’: The last pictures actor Julian Sands sent to grandson of snow-capped mountaintop

Get our free weekly email with the latest film news from our film critic, Clarisse Loughrey

Get our The Life Cinematic email for free

Missing movie star Julian Sands’ family say he was doing what he loved most when he disappeared – when they released the last known pictures of him climbing a mountain.

As the hunt for the British actor enters day six in the California mountains, poignant photos he sent to his grandson show him relaxed and happy as he climbs high above the clouds.

Mr Sands, who has starred in more than 150 films and TV series including A Room With a View, sent his grandson pictures of himself climbing the Weisshorn in the Swiss Alps last September.

A family member told The Independent: “He would love to be seen doing what he loves most – a heroic climber, and thrilled to send a picture of him looking so happy to be involved to share with his beloved grandson Billy.”

And a friend described him as “a Byronesque romantic and adventurer, drawn to the extremes of nature and enjoying the freedom of the mountains”.

Sands envisioned climbing the Weisshorn, which is said to be more serious than the Matterhorn

(included)

Mr. Sands was climbing a section of the 4,783m Weisshorn when the colorful images were captured.

The pictures, which Julian sent to Billy in September and were exclusively made available to The Independent, show the father of three in climbing gear including ropes, with a helmet and a backpack strapped to his back.

In one photo, he holds a bottle of water and turns to smile for the camera while sitting on a peak.

A keen and experienced hiker, the 65-year-old once described his happiest moment as being “near a mountaintop on a gloriously cold morning”.

Sands sent these pictures to his grandson

(included)

The Weisshorn, a three-pointed, pyramid-shaped mountain about 15 miles (24 km) from the Matterhorn, is described by climbing experts as “more serious” than its famous neighbor.

Amazon Prime

Access unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows with Amazon Prime Video Sign up now for a free 30-day trial

Register

“As one of the most difficult four-thousanders, the Weisshorn is a long and serious climb on any route,” according to Alpine Guides.

His wife, writer Evgenia Citkowitz, reported him missing last Friday while he was out in the San Gabriel Mountains in America, and a close friend told The Independent his family was desperate with concern.

A major search was launched for Mr Sands and on Friday crews found and towed away a car believed to be his.

Henry Sands, Julian’s son and Billy’s father, joined the search in the California mountains along with an experienced hiker. The West Yorkshire-born actor, who lives in North Hollywood, played journalist Jon Swain in The Killing Fields and is also known for starring in the Merchant Ivory romance A Room with a View.

The actor loves mountaineering, his family says

(included)

A friend told The Independent: “Julian is wild and never constrained by rules or boundaries. He is a Byronic romantic and an adventurer, drawn to the extremes of nature and enjoying the freedom of the mountains he conquers around the world.

“He is deeply inspired by the Romantic poets and his performances of their works are captivating and spring from a passionate love of literature.

“He is a friend bound by Homeric qualities of loyalty and living life to the fullest.

“He takes no prisoners, yet is as gentle and generous and sensitive as the poets he so admires.

“His total and absolute adoration will always be for his wife, the novelist and screenwriter Evgenia Citkowitz, with whom he has two daughters.

“And his son Henry by his first wife, journalist Sarah Sands, is close to him and has joined the search for him in the California mountains where he went missing.

“His roles are often quirky and original, as he has strayed from the matinee idol roles of Merchant Ivory, in which he has established himself as one of Britain’s big stars.”

A friend of Julian Sands described him as “a Byronesque romantic and adventurer”.

(AP)

When he disappeared, the actor was said to be somewhere along the popular Baldy Bowl Trail, which climbs 4.5 miles and climbs 3,900 feet to the highest peak in the San Gabriel Mountains.

Search and rescue teams to suspend the search over the weekend due to avalanche danger, a department spokesman said, with authorities continuing to use drones.

In recent years, several experienced hikers have died due to Mount Baldy’s icy terrain. It is considered one of the most dangerous peaks in the USA.