digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















Gayla Peevey
Born (1943-03-08) March 8, 1943 (age 72)
Ponca City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Occupation(s) Singer
Instruments Vocals
Years active 1953-1962
Labels Columbia, Joy Records (New York)

Gayla Peevey Henderson (born March 8, 1943) is a former singer and child star from Ponca City, Oklahoma. She is best known for her recording, under her maiden name Gayla Peevey, of "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" (Columbia 4-40106, 1953). Peevey recorded the novelty song when she was 10 years old.

In 1960, under the name Jamie Horton, she had a minor hit with the song "Robot Man", a Connie Francis cover.[1]


Peevey graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Education degree.[2] She eventually left teaching and owned her own advertising firm for 15 years.[2] She is married to Cliff Henderson. They have a daughter, Sydney Forest, and 3 grandchildren.

In popular culture[edit]

The Oklahoma City Zoo capitalized upon the popularity of "I Want A Hippopotamus for Christmas" with a fundraising campaign to "buy a hippo for Gayla". The fund raised $3,000 (equivalent to $27,552.12 present day), and a baby hippopotamus named Matilda was purchased and given to Peevey which she then donated to the zoo.[3] The hippopotamus named Matilda spent 45 years in the Oklahoma City Zoo, and then died at age 47 from a heart attack in 1998 while being transferred to the Walt Disney World's Disney's Animal Kingdom, in Orlando, Florida.[4]

In addition to being a talented singer, Henderson is also an accomplished songwriter, penning several of her Joy Records (New York) singles, including My Little Marine, Just Say So, We're Through - We're Finished, When It Comes To Love, Yes, I'll Be Your Girl and Dear Jane.

Singles (as Gayla Peevey) on Columbia Records[edit]

Year Side Title Label Single Catalogue No.
1953 A I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas Columbia Records 40106 CO49818
B Are My Ears On Straight CO49819
1953 A I Wish I Wuz A Whisker (On The Easter Bunny's Chin) 40182 RHCO10747
B Three Little Bunnies RHCO10748
1953 A Kitty In The Basket (duet with Jimmy Boyd) 40218 RHCO10753
B I'm So Glad (duet with Jimmy Boyd) RHCO10754
1953 A Upsy Down Town 40264 CO49820
B A Dog Named Joe CO49821
1954 A Angel In The Christmas Play 40364 RHCO33252
B Got A Cold In The Node For Christmas RHCO33253
1954 A Daddy's Report Card 40425 RHCO10749
B The Night I Ran Away RHCO10750
1955 A 77 Santas 40602 RZSP33598
B Rubberlegs (The Knock-Kneed Monkey) RZSP33599
1957 A I Want You To Be My Guy 40932 JZSP41539
B Too Young To Have A Broken Heart JZSP41540
1958 A That's What I Learned In School 41027 JZSP42215
B Do It Again JZSP42214

Singles (as Jamie Horton) on Joy Records (New York)[edit]

Year Side Title Label Single Catalogue No.
1959 A My Little Marine Joy Records (New York) 234 K90W-8507
B Missin' K90W-8508
1960 A Where's My Love 237 KS-194
B Heartbreakin' Doll KS-193
1960 A Just Say So 240 L90W-2188
B There Goes My Love
1960 A Robot Man 241 JR-7051
B We're Through - We're Finished JR-7031
1960 A What Should A Teen Heart Do 245
B Hands Off, He's Mine
1961 A When It Comes To Love 252
B Yes, I'll Be Your Girl
1961 A Going, Going, Going Gone 258 JR-7103
B They're Playing Our Song (contains elements of 16 Candles) JR-7101
1961 A Dear Jane 266 JR-7073
B Only Forever JR-7122
1962 A Go Shout It From A Mountain 269
B Oh Love (Stop Knockin' On My Door)


  1. ^ Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (25 July 1960). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 3. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  2. ^ a b "Biography of Gayla Peevey," Internet Movie Database (accessed May 11, 2010).
  3. ^ Novelty Nook, Fifties and Sixties, Mistletunes.com (accessed May 11, 2010).
  4. ^ News OK:" City Zoo Hippo Dies En Route to Florida Park"

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gayla_Peevey — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

126 news items

Tue, 08 Dec 2015 15:37:30 -0800

Gayla Peevey, from Oklahoma City-then Ponca City-now San Diego, joined us via Skype in studio today. Peevey recorded "I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas" when she was 10 years old. She says her parents moved the family to California because they ...

San Diego Reader

San Diego Reader
Wed, 09 Dec 2015 06:26:15 -0800

#“People assume I collect them, so they give them to me,” she tells me from her home near Mt. Helix. “I have figurines and a lot of stuffed hippos. It's like a mini museum.” #There's a good reason why hippos loom large in the 72-year-old's legend. Back ...


Mon, 21 Nov 2011 14:36:53 -0800

The childhood star who charmed the country with her 1953 hit “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” returned to her home state of Oklahoma to celebrate the holiday season. Officials at the Oklahoma City Zoo hosted Gayla Peevey Henderson for a singalong ...
Cinema Blend
Sun, 23 Dec 2007 00:00:01 -0800

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love gave to me... Gayla Peevey's “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas” Ten year-old Gayla Peevey's 1953 recording of “I want A Hippopotamus for Christmas” is arguably the most annoying tune that inevitably ...

San Diego Reader

San Diego Reader
Wed, 16 Dec 2015 07:03:16 -0800

"I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" ...featuring San Diego's Gayla Peevey. A Little Hippo Goes a Long Way. #OMG! I was five years old in 1953 when I heard “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and pestered my parents for one (Blurt: “Gayla, Matilda, ...
Huffington Post
Wed, 23 Dec 2015 08:50:35 -0800

Gayla Peevey's "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" - She recorded this song when she was 10. This and every other detail of her life, including the names of the attending physician at her birth and her first crush, are available on her website. Visit ...
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 22:04:59 -0800

A Zoo holiday tradition continues with the “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” sing-a-long led by Gayla Peevey Henderson herself, during a Skype broadcast. Gayla will take us down memory lane as she shares her memories of growing up in Oklahoma ...


Tue, 08 Dec 2015 13:33:45 -0800

Sung by then 10-year-old Gayla Peevey, the cause was picked up by an Oklahoma City television station and newspaper, and nearly $4,000 was raised to attain the 3-year-old hippo. The candy canes that were passed out had reindeer facts taped to them.

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight