On the day of his death, Kim Peek spent all morning opening Christmas cards accompanied by Francis, His father, who in turn was his great friend. Kim was not suffering from any illness, nothing seemed to suggest that her life would be extinct forever that day. He had been with his family to prepare gifts for such important dates.
On the same December 19, a heart attack knocked Kim to the ground.
Kim Peek: The Case of the Saint with Superhuman Memory
So died Kim Peek, a man whose spirit had surprised the world, History motivated a great movie.
Their abilities were so utterly improbable that even NASA, as well as several American universities, studied in depth where such abilities came from. He had just turned 58.
He was born in 1951. On the day of his birth, the doctors who gave birth informed his parents that Kim he suffered from marked mental retardation, Which certainly wouldn’t allow him to walk, and they recommended that Kim be hospitalized in a center where they could treat him. WITHOUT this, Kim’s parents disagreed with the idea.
He was diagnosed with macrocephalyIn other words, a skull of unusually large proportions, and its brain did not have a corpus callosum, the tissue that connects the two hemispheres of the brain and allows the exchange of information between cells. It is assumed that the absence of a corpus callosum, their neurons created their tissues unconstrained, coming together and forming a compact mass of connections capable of holding up to 98% of everything they saw or heard.
Francis Peek, her father, used to explain that at the age of one and a half, Kim was able to memorize all the books they told her. They moved Kim’s finger over each sentence, while uttering the sounds for Kim to learn. In this way, they noticed how Kim could remember a book after reading it just once. When she was done reading a book, Kim turned it over, as if that book wasn’t needed at all. This habit remained with him throughout his life.
A difficult childhood
At the age of three, Kim asked her mother what the word “confidential” meant. Her mother, in order to stimulate Kim, replied that she could look it up in the dictionary. From there, he learned to locate the words alphabetically to later read each of the meanings. During his lifetime he came to read and memorize a total of nine thousand books. It was calculated that he could read two pages in 8-10 seconds because he used his left eye to read the left page, while with his right eye he read the right page.
He was unable to walk until he was 4 years old. Even then he was captivated by numbers and arithmetic, he read phone books and amused himself by adding entire columns of phone numbers, and he did the same with the numbers on car license plates.
Adulthood, professional life and fame
From 1969 Kim worked in a special workshop for disabled adults. Simply with his mind, without calculators or computers, he was able to solve all the accounting of the company. However, his motor and coordination difficulties weighed on his life. His father had to help him with everyday tasks such as tying the buttons on his shirt, tying his laces … and although he had the ability to memorize almost with absolute precision any text he read, he could not. not interpret or draw conclusions from their readings.
In his book “The Real Rain Man”, Francis Peek describes his son in these terms: “Kim is not autistic. In fact, his personality is warm and affectionate. Kim really cares about people and loves to share their skills with them. unique., their encyclopedic knowledge includes disciplines such as history, biographies, geography, sports, engineering, film … He also has an in-depth knowledge of the Bible, Mormon Church history, the calendar (you can guess the dates), the literature … It can identify almost any classical music composition, as well as the dates and place of birth and death of a composer. current affairs in the world and in the United States “.
Kim Peek, Dustin Hoffman and the unforgettable “Rain Man”
Many people will have seen the movie “Rain Man”, released in 1988 with Dustin Hoffman I Tom cruise as protagonists. She received four statuettes at the Oscars. However, not many people know that Raymond Babbit (Dustin Hoffman) character was actually inspired by Kim Peek.
It’s a curious story: the writer Barry Morrow had completed, a few years ago, a screenplay for the film “Bill”, about a man suffering from mental retardation played by the well-known actor Mickey Rooney. This film showed the human side of people with mental retardation, distancing themselves from certain clichés.
For his good work, Morrow was invited to a 1984 ACR Communications Committee conference in the state of Texas. Francis Peek, Kim’s father, was chairman of the committee. Kim Peek and Morrow met and spent several hours chatting. Kim stunned Morrow with her in-depth knowledge of every author and book imaginable, citing numerous sports statistics and “guessing the day of the week I was born, my birthday, and the day I turned 65,” Morrow reported.
They also discussed the Civil War, the American Revolution, the Great World Wars … Morrow ended up writing a Kim Peek-inspired screenplay, “Rain Man”, which actually turned out to be a great movie.
The legendary film about his life
In his preparation for the interpretation of Raymond Babbit, The famous actor Dustin Hoffman met Kim and Francis Peek. They exchanged impressions on the British monarchy, the Bible, sports, dates, geographical points, films, literature …
Hoffman said some unforgettable words when he spoke of Kim’s talent, when he said “Maybe I’m the star, but you Kim are the sky.” Choosing the Best Actor statuette for his performance in “Rain Man,” Hoffman said during his speech: “I especially want to thank Kim Peek for making Rain Man a reality.”
From the great impact of the film, Kim Peek’s life changed. Her figure caught the attention of journalists and TV channels. He started giving live lectures in which he interacted with the audience. It is estimated that he came to meet two million people, whom he surprised with his skills.
His character has been the subject of several documentaries and reports by Discovery Chanell, CNN, TLC and National Geographic, among others. His father, Francis, reported that thanks to all the attention he received, Kim was growing as a person, gaining confidence in him. Before being publicly recognized, he rarely looked into the eyes of his interlocutors. But fame helped him learn to interact and love to share with other people.