Kim Peek: The Real Rain Man

Kim Peek: The Real Rain Man

2006, Psychology  -   26 Comments
Ratings: 8.15/10 from 65 users.

Kim Peek: The Real Rain ManKim Peek, the genius who inspired Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man, has died from a heart attack at the age of 58. Kim Peek was classed as a mega-savant and had memorized 12,000 books, including the entire Bible, but had difficulty with ordinary tasks like getting dressed and combing his hair. His astonishing abilities included being able to read one page of a book with his left eye and the other with his right. It took him just eight seconds to read and remember a page.

He could also ask a stranger their date of birth, then tell them what day of the week they were born on, and what was on the front of major newspapers. Mr Peek was classed as a genius in 15 different subjects including history, literature, geography and music yet still scored below average in IQ tests. Script writer Barry Morrow was inspired to write Rain Man after meeting him in the early 1980s. Dustin Hoffman went on to win an Oscar for his portrayal of a savant called Raymond Babbitt who, like Mr Peek, reeled off endless sports minutiae. During his preparation for the role Hoffman met Mr Peek, who was then 37, and helped him to overcome his deeply introverted nature.

Mr Peek's father Fran said: "Dustin Hoffman said to me, you have to promise me one thing about this guy, share him with the world." With his confidence increasing Mr Peek later took to the stage, amazing audiences with his recall and enjoying being known as the real Rain Man. In 2004 Nasa scientists began studying him using technology designed to assess the effects of space travel on the brain. Mr Peek, who was a Mormon, died in Salt Lake City, Utah. In recent years he also showed an ability to develop and change, even overcoming his literal nature by learning to tell jokes.

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26 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Audrey

    Amazing, we met 25 years ago at a conference in Springfield. Had the best memories of us talking of sports and zip codes. Never will I forget him and what he has done for all who knew him and his father.

  2. Eazy

    He´s a pandimensional being!

  3. mwangi

    've seen a gentleman with the same character here in Kenya.

  4. Blaice

    Kim was a fascinating and great individual, but his father was incredible. What an amazing human being. Seeing a man like that gives me more hope in the human race than anything else I have ever witnessed. I don't necessarily believe in an afterlife, but if there is one, these two have reaped the benevolence of it.

  5. donna ross

    Just watched Rainman on line. Favorite movie of mine. So sorry to learn of the "real rainman's death. He was something else!

  6. wt1776

    Fran Peek should get a "father of the century" award for his 58-year devotion to the well being of his gifted son. Two amazing men!

  7. the555hit

    Great doc , great people.

  8. rastapasta

    griping! shadow of a shadow. makes me think of my mother when she died with only me with her.
    as well earlyier in the film rain man said love and im just like you.
    people and films about people like rain man and his father i cherish.

  9. pinkloveX3

    He is such a sweet guy... And the love of his father is so beautiful

  10. Guest

    What a sweet, sweet man he was. Every time I saw him I got a good, warm feeling, a fascinating look into the potential of the human mind, and a touch of the innocence of a spirit unfettered from the corruption in the world.

  11. L0LAW0NKA

    Isn't it funny how the world is? I mean, you truly can't have EVERYTHING in life. :)

  12. Gary V

    A truly remarkable man, he has got wonderful gift but at a heavy cost.

  13. Praeprachan

    I saw this doc. through tear, how does his farther look after him alone.

  14. Praeprachan

    the greatest dad, the amazing son.

  15. debbye

    Wonderful movie! Props to dad, Fran for his love and devotion for his son.

  16. toddy

    Wonderful documentary saw it a few years ago on tv. Truly sad to hear that Kim passed on.

    1. the555hit

      Toddy on strength of the upbeat remaining lines of your comment it might be interesting to know what the cut consisted of --- could you not post it in some kind of bowlderalised form (if so terribly obscene it truly was..) for our enrichment?

  17. ProudinUS

    an extrodinary beautiful doc.I want to learn more about this.

  18. Beaver

    This is a beautiful doc.
    Kim was a good man and yes, he was the 'human google' but also a great human being with an amazing sense of humor and a real need to connect with people.RIP Kim and thanks for playing.

  19. Doc

    You gotta love this guy!

  20. tamara

    Beautiful doc. A very admirable angel of a father. Glad he lived a happy life. Only problem i had was the use of the word "normal" by some professionals when comparing Kim's mind against the average mind. I found it disturbing... maybe "average" would be a better word in the context "normal" was used.

  21. Hardy

    Pretty damn beautiful doc.

  22. Cliff T

    I've already seen this but will say that it is sad to know he died earlier this year. Seemed like such a nice guy.

  23. Cliff

    Another great doc that I accidentally come across in the 'you might also like these' lists.

    I wonder how many other people may have been or are like this but aren't given the opportunity to find out.

  24. Yavanna

    Bah shame he died.

  25. Achems Razor

    Great Doc, never tire of also seeing the movie "Rain Man".