Kim Peek the real “Rain Man” dies
Kim Peek, the real “Rain Man” whose powers of memory in spite of severe physical severe disabilities and who inspired the Oscar-winning film role played by Dustin Hoffman, has died of a heart attack in his home town of Salt Lake City, aged 58.
When Hoffman was cast in the title role of the film “Rain Man” , based in spirit if not in detail on the life of Peek, he spent time with him, imbibing his mannerisms and quirks.
Peek has been called a “mega-savant” for his ability to memorise to the word up to 12,000 books, including the Bible and the Book of Mormon. He could read two pages in about 10 seconds — the right page with his right eye and the left simultaneously with his left eye. He knew phone books by heart, and could tell you what day of the week a particular date fell upon going back decades. At the same time, though, he had deep disabilities and relied on his father Fran for help dressing, brushing his hair and other simple motor skills.
Peek was born on November 11, 1951 with damage to the cerebellum in which the corpus callosum, a bundle of nerves that connects the two sides of the brain, is largely missing. At the age of two his severe disabilities almost landed him for life in an asylum.In those days his condition was known as “idiot savant” and considered best treated in mental institutions.