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Kim Peek

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Nationality  American
Known for  Megasavant

Name  Kim Peek
Siblings  Alison Peek, Brian Peek
Kim Peek Kim Peek Inspiration for 39Rain Man39 Dies at 58 The New

Full Name  Laurence Kim Peek
Born  November 11, 1951 (1951-11-11) Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.
Died  December 19, 2009, Murray, Utah, United States
Parents  Fran Peek, Jeanne W. Buchi
Similar People  Daniel Tammet, Stephen Wiltshire, Leslie Lemke

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Laurence Kim Peek (November 11, 1951 – December 19, 2009) was an American savant. Known as a "megasavant", he had an exceptional memory, but he also experienced social difficulties, possibly resulting from a developmental disability related to congenital brain abnormalities. He was the inspiration for the autistic savant character Raymond Babbitt in the movie Rain Man. While Peek was previously diagnosed with autism, it is now thought that he instead had FG syndrome.


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Early life

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Peek was born in Salt Lake City, Utah with macrocephaly, damage to the cerebellum, and agenesis of the corpus callosum, a condition in which the bundle of nerves that connects the two hemispheres of the brain is missing; in Peek's case, secondary connectors such as the anterior commissure were also missing. There is speculation that his neurons made unusual connections due to the absence of a corpus callosum, which resulted in an increased memory capacity. According to Peek's father, Fran (Francis) Peek, Kim was able to memorize things from the age of 16–20 months. He read books, memorized them, and then placed them upside down on the shelf to show that he had finished reading them, a practice he maintained all his life. He could speed through a book in about an hour and remember almost everything he had read, memorizing vast amounts of information in subjects ranging from history and literature, geography and numbers to sports, music and dates. Peek read by scanning the left page with his left eye, then the right page with his right eye. According to an article in The Times newspaper, he could accurately recall the contents of at least 12,000 books. Peek lived in Murray, Utah and spent a considerable amount of his time reading at the Salt Lake City Library and demonstrating his capabilities at schools, with great help from his father.

Kim Peek Kim Peek Wikipedia the free encyclopedia

Peek did not walk until he was four years old, and then in a sidelong manner. He could not button up his shirt and had difficulty with other ordinary motor skills, presumably due to his damaged cerebellum, which normally coordinates motor activities. In psychological testing, Peek scored below average (87) on general IQ tests.

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At 6, it was suggested that he have a lobotomy to 'cure' his incessant chattering, fidgeting and pacing; when he attended school, aged 7, he was expelled for being 'uncontrollable' after just 7 minutes in class. Following this, tutors visited his house twice a week for 45 minutes; by the age of 14, Peek had completed the high school curriculum.

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Aged 18, he got a job working out the payroll for 160 people: this was a task that took him only a few hours, without the need for a calculator. However, he became unemployed a decade later when his employers decided to computerize payroll accounting, and he was replaced by two full-time accountants and a computer.

Rain Man

Kim Peek Kim Peek the savant who inspired Rain Man dies at the age of 58

In 1984, screenwriter Barry Morrow met Peek in Arlington, Texas; the result of the meeting was the 1988 movie Rain Man. The character of Raymond Babbitt, although inspired by Peek, was portrayed as autistic. Dustin Hoffman, who played Babbitt, met Peek and other savants to get an understanding of their nature and to play the role accurately and methodically. The movie led to a number of requests for appearances, which increased Peek's self-confidence. Barry Morrow gave Peek his Oscar statuette to carry with him and show at these appearances; it has since been referred to as the "Most Loved Oscar Statue" as it has been held by more people than any other. Peek also enjoyed approaching strangers and showing them his talent for calendar calculations by telling them on which day of the week they were born and what news items were on the front page of major newspapers. Peek also appeared on television. He travelled with his father, who took care of him and performed many motor tasks that Peek found difficult.

Scientific investigation

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In 2004, scientists at the Center for Bioinformatics Space Life Sciences at the NASA Ames Research Center examined Peek with a series of tests including computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. The intent was to create a three-dimensional view of his brain structure and to compare the images to MRI scans done in 1988. These were the first tentative approaches in using non-invasive technology to further investigate Kim's savant abilities.

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A 2008 study concluded that Peek probably had FG syndrome, a rare genetic syndrome linked to the X chromosome which causes physical anomalies such as hypotonia (low muscle tone) and macrocephaly (abnormally large head).


Peek died of a heart attack at his home on December 19, 2009, aged 58. His father, Fran, died on April 5, 2014, aged 88.


  • The Boy with the Incredible Brain, a BBC documentary
  • Brainman, a Discovery Channel documentary
  • Inside the Rain Man, a Discovery Channel documentary
  • Everything You Need to Know – The Brain, a Discovery Channel documentary
  • Human Computer, a Discovery Channel documentary
  • Medical Incredible, a Discovery Health Channel documentary
  • The Real Rain Man, a Discovery Health Channel documentary premiered on November 26, 2006
  • Ripley's Believe It or Not!
  • CNN interview by Richard Quest
  • Focus Productions. "The Real Rain Man". Extraordinary People. Season 2006-07. RTL Group. Five. Archived from the original on March 1, 2006. 
  • World's Smartest People on The Learning Channel
  • Kim and his father were speakers at the inaugural meeting of the Athanasius Kircher Society.
  • Speaker at the Oxford Union
  • 60 Minutes
  • Accidental Genius, a National Geographic Channel documentary
  • Superhuman, "Genius" episode, a Science Channel special premiered on November 7, 2008
  • Beautiful Minds: A Voyage Into the Brain, a documentary produced in 2006 by colourFIELD tell-a-vision, a German company
  • Den Riktiga Rain Man (The Real Rain Man), a Swedish documentary that was aired July 6, 2006 across the country's channel four (TV-4) TV-station
  • Michael Vey 4
  • Kim peek idiot savant rain man


    Kim Peek Wikipedia