Part 3 - Personal Appearances:
Page 7 - Conclusion


Irish McCalla moved to California for two reasons - to escape the freezing Nebraska winters and to study art (see the Childhood page and Page 1: California in the Modelling section).  Unlike the average pretty girl from small town America who moves to Tinseltown, she had no aspirations to see her name up in lights or to become a famous star adored by millions.  She merely wanted to pursue the creative interests that had inspired and enlivened her since she was a young child (see Art page).  Nevertheless, within less than ten years of arriving in Los Angeles Irish was an instantly-recognisable celebrity.
Irish frequently said that things just seemed to happen to her without trying.  Her stunning good looks were responsible for the meteoric rise she experienced in her modelling career (see Page 3: Success in the Modelling section), making her one of the most sought after glamour models of the early-Fifties.  When she auditioned for the role of Sheena she was passed over by the producers, who chose the gorgeous, but unsuitably delicate, Anita Ekberg, to play the robust and vigorous jungle queen.  Thankfully (for audiences, Ms Ekberg's career took a fortuitous turn and the part was offered to Irish (see Page 4: Anita's Relinquishment in the Audition section).  As Sheena she was a resounding success.  Her noble bearing, her striking Amazonian features, her statuesque frame, her athleticism, and her naive, understated delivery made her a truly believable jungle heroine.  She inspired young girls to want more than subservient domesticity and she stimulated the fantasies of prepubescent young men and their dads in an era of wholesome, apple-pie womanhood.
Without asking for it, Irish McCalla had become a genuine 24-carat goddess.  A Nebraska farm girl had become an unmistakable superstar of some eminence, travelling the globe and touching the hearts of multitudes of fans of all ages with her mere presence.  When you learn that Elvis Presley is an avid fan and is very keen to meet you, you know you've arrived!  But, Irish being Irish, this was a television luminary of a very different mould.  She was an intelligent and sensitive individual who made a concerted effort to retain her unassuming Midwestern ways.  When asked if she hated being typecast Irish replied, "No, not at all.  Sheena has been very good to me.  There is a lot of me in her.  I like Sheena."

Please don't forget to visit my pages devoted to the twenty-six episodes of Sheena Queen of the Jungle, if you haven't done so already. You will find plot summaries, numerous comments about the individual episodes and video captures from all of the surviving episodes.  There are also large-sized copies of a many of the photos used on these pages available to download on the Sheena Photo Gallery page and the Glamour Photo Gallery page.

• Black and white Bruno Bernard glamour photo of Irish as Sheena kindly donated by Frank Bonilla


SHEENA © is the property of Sony Pictures Corporation
This independent, fan-based analysis of the Sheena material is copyright © 2005-2007 Paul Wickham
This page was updated August 2007