Ain't he just the sweetest little thing?! Oh I just wanna dunk him in my coffee!
~ Gloria cuddling Mort.
Gloria the Hippopotamus is a main character of the Madagascar franchise, serving as a main character in Madagascar, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, and Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted. She also serves as the major character of the specials and the minor character of the short films and the Penguins of Madagascar movie. She also appears as a protagonist in the online prequel series Madagascar: A Little Wild.
She is a hippopotamus, who resided in the Central Park Zoo as an attraction, all the while being good friends with Alex, Marty, and Melman. She is the only female of the quartet.
She is voiced by Willow Smith (in Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa) and Shaylin Becton (in Madagascar: A Little Wild) as a child and Jada Pinkett Smith as an adult.
As a hippopotamus, Gloria had a passive nature when it came to most problems, and served as the voice of reason for her friends. At the time of Marty the zebra's birthday, Gloria is another animal in the Central Park Zoo and was one of the many attractions, drawing crowds that enjoyed seeing her swim about in her water tank. She would also receive the star treatment as one of the zoo's main attractions and attend Marty’s birthday party. At this party, Marty announced his wish upon blowing out the candles on his cake: to go to the wild. Gloria, Alex, and Melman tried to have Marty come to his senses by telling him that life out in the wilds was savage and difficult, whereas life in the zoos was adequate. Marty was unhappy at hearing this and Gloria told Alex to go and console Marty. Later that night, however, Marty acted out his wish and headed straight for the Terminal Station so as to take a train and go to Connecticut, where Marty heard that wide open spaces were found. Gloria urged both Alex and Melman to come with her so as to find Marty and bring him back before any people would notice. They were found, regardless, alongside Mason and Phil, the two chimps; and a troupe of secretive penguins, all ending up tranquilized with darts.
When they all came to, they found themselves in crates bound for Africa. When the penguins hijack the ship, the crates fall into the ocean and wash up on the island of Madagascar. After some confusion, they start to set up their own society and attract the attention of a lemur colony.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa
In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Gloria expresses a desire to join in the zoo breeding program, in the hopes of finding a boyfriend. When the animals crash land in Africa, she attracts the attention of a hippo named Moto Moto ("Hot Hot" in English). Though she thinks he is the ideal boyfriend at first, she realizes that he only loves her because she is fat, whereas Melman loves her for who she is. Realizing that she loves Melman back, she convinces him not to sacrifice himself into the volcano and Gloria grabs him by the horn and says, "It's crazy to think that I had to go half way around the world to find the perfect guy was right next door..." and then joins the other animals in rescuing Alex from Nana.
Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
In Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted, Gloria remains Melman's girlfriend. Of course, it was a surprise for her to fall in love with him, but she couldn't see it any way else. She then helps Melman walk on a tightrope, which both later dance on as their circus act. Among her friends, Gloria joins the circus forever. It's unknown what became of her after this.
Madagascar: A Little Wild
Gloria appears as a protagonist in this online prequel series, which takes place many years before the events of the films and depicts Gloria's childhood adventures in Central Park Zoo.
Gloria is one of only two main characters whose voice artist brought in offspring to do the character's juvenile voice (that one being Jada Pinkett-Smith being her original voice actress, while her daughter, Willow, did her juvenile voice), the other being Alex. Call Me George John Goodman, (Hippo Male Version)
Halle Berry, Mandy Moore, Rebecca Romijn, Jessica Lange, Courtney Love, Christina Ricci, Mia Farrow, Rebeccah Bush, Camryn Manheim, Elizabeth Hurley, Kristin Scott Thomas, Meg Ryan, Kate Mulgrew, Jenna Elfman and Jennifer Tilly were all considered to voice Gloria before Jada Pinkett Smith was cast.