SALT LAKE CITY, UT – The prodigious savant who inspired the classic film “Rain Man” passed away this weekend.
Kim Peek, the inspiration for Dustin Hoffman’s character in “Rain Man”, died of a heart attack on Saturday. He had been suffering from an upper respiratory infection for the past few weeks.
Peek was born in 1951. Doctors believed he was so severely mentally retarded that they told his parents to institutionalize him for life. They refused. By 16 months, Peek was already proving the doctors wrong by reading and memorizing stacks of books, including Shakespeare and the Bible!
It was eventually discovered that Peek was missing the corpus callosum in his brain, which connects the left and right hemispheres. It usually acts as a filter in human brains, causing us to retain only 45% of what we take in. Instead, Peek retained 95%, essentially everything he came in contact with!
Screenwriter Barry Morrow met Peek in 1984, and he decided to write a script inspired by him. Peek’s life was forever changed when the film “Rain Man” became a huge success, with Dustin Hoffman even thanking him in his acceptance speech for Best Actor at the Academy Awards! Peek began to tour the world speaking to audiences about his condition.
He is survived by his father, mother, one brother and one sister.
Watch the video below to see Peek’s astounding recall abilities: