Publicity photo of Gayla Peevey in 1953
|Birth name||Gayla Rienette Peevey|
|Born||March 8, 1943|
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Labels||Columbia, Joy Records (New York)|
Gayla Rienette Peevey (born March 8, 1943) is a former singer and child star from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Her family moved to Ponca City, Oklahoma, in 1948. 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.
Peevey graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Education degree. She eventually left teaching and owned her own advertising firm for 15 years. She is married to Cliff Henderson. They have a daughter, Sydney Forest, and 3 grandchildren.
In popular culture
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 US$28,093 in 2018), and a baby hippopotamus named Matilda was purchased and given to Peevey which she then donated to the zoo in 1951. 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.
In addition to being a singer, Henderson is also a 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
|1953||I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas/Are My Ears On Straight||Columbia Records||40106||CO49818/CO49819|
|Wish I Wuz A Whisker (On The Easter Bunny's Chin)/Three Little Bunnies||40182||RHCO10747/RHCO10748|
|Kitty In The Basket (duet with Jimmy Boyd)/I'm So Glad (duet with Jimmy Boyd)||40218||RHCO10753/RHCO10754|
|Upsy Down Town/A Dog Named Joe||40264||CO49820/CO49821|
|1954||Angel In The Christmas Play/Got A Cold In The Node For Christmas||40364||RHCO33252/RHCO33253|
|Daddy's Report Card/The Night I Ran Away||40425||RHCO10749/RHCO10750|
|1955||77 Santas/Rubberlegs (The Knock-Kneed Monkey)||40602||RZSP33598/RZSP33599|
|1957||I Want You To Be My Guy/Too Young To Have A Broken Heart||40932||JZSP41539/JZSP41540|
|1958||That's What I Learned In School/Do It Again||41027||JZSP42215/JZSP42214|
Singles (as Jamie Horton) on Joy Records (New York)
|1959||My Little Marine/Missin'||Joy Records (New York)||234||K90W-8507/K90W-8508|
|1960||Where's My Love/Heartbreakin' Doll||237||KS-193/KS-194|
|Just Say So/There Goes My Love||240||L90W-2188|
|Robot Man/We're Through – We're Finished||241||JR-7051/JR-7031|
|What Should A Teen Heart Do/Hands Off, He's Mine||245|
|1961||When It Comes To Love/Yes, I'll Be Your Girl||252|
|Going, Going, Going Gone/They're Playing Our Song (contains elements of 16 Candles)||258||JR-7103/JR-7101|
|Dear Jane/Only Forever||266||JR-7073/JR-7122|
|1962||Go Shout It From A Mountain/Oh Love (Stop Knockin' On My Door)||269|
- Gayla Peevey biography. Iwantahippopotamusforchristmas.net (March 9, 1943). Retrieved on 2017-01-23.
- Nielsen Business Media, Inc. (July 25, 1960). Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. p. 3. ISSN 0006-2510.
- "Biography of Gayla Peevey," Internet Movie Database (accessed May 11, 2010).
- Novelty Nook, Fifties and Sixties, Mistletunes.com (accessed May 11, 2010).
- " City Zoo Hippo Dies En Route to Florida Park". News OK (March 4, 1998). Retrieved on 2017-01-23.