Mark Sheeler, Who Battled a Killer Tree in 'From Hell It Came,' Dies at 92

Courtesy of Wade Sheeler
Mark Sheeler

Soon after appearing in the 1957 film, he left acting for more than 30 years (imagine that!), only to return to the screen.

Mark Sheeler, an actor who tussled with a rampaging tree in the 1957 schlock horror film From Hell It Came, died Thursday of complications from a stroke, his son, Wade, said. He was 92.

Sheeler left work in front of the camera for almost 35 years to be a professional wedding photographer and supervisor for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power before returning to acting in his 70s. 

He then appeared on such series as Mad About You, ER, Chicago Hope and Tim & Eric’s Bedtime Stories as well as a stodgy banker in commercials for Washington Mutual.

A native of New York, Sheeler served during World War II, then helmed the radio show The Blues Chaser Club, a mix of songs and comic banter, starting in the late 1940s. He married and moved to California to begin acting.

Sheeler worked on such television shows as Sergeant Preston of the Yukon, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Adventures of Superman, Highway Patrol, Zorro and Time for Beany (as host of the kids puppet show).

His film résumé includes Tank Battalion (1958), Speed Crazy (1959) and Why Must I Die? (1960).

Allied Artists’ From Hell It Came (“Its Roots Reaching Down to the Dead,” it said on the poster) featured the avenging creature Tabonga, who was a South Seas island prince before he was unjustly put to death by a witch doctor, only to return as a very mean tree.

Sheeler’s scene made it into It Came From Hollywood (1982), a film that compiled clips from “B” movies and featured funny narration from Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Cheech & Chong and others.

Sheeler’s other survivors include his wife Carmella, daughters Carrie and Helene and grandchildren Atticus and Maisie.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to the Benign Essential Blepharospasm Research Foundation or Learning Ally (formerly Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic).

A service will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in the Hollywood Hills. 

Twitter: @mikebarnes4