Mr Peek was probably the world’s most famous savant. Described as a confounding mixture of disability and genius, his astonishing ability to retain knowledge inspired the writer Barry Morrow to write Rain Man, the 1988 movie starring Dustin Hoffman that won four Academy Awards.
Born in 1951 in Salt Lake city, Mr Peek was diagnosed as severely mentally retarded and his parents were advised to place him in an institution and forget about him. Thirty years later, he was classified as a “mega-savant,” a genius in about 15 different subjects, from history and literature and geography to numbers, sports, music and dates.
By the time of his death he had committed more than 9,000 books to memory and Nasa made him the subject of MRI-based research, hoping that technology used to study the effects of space travel on the brain would help explain his mental capabilities.
He would read eight books a day, taking just ten seconds to read a page. He could read two pages simultaneously, his left eye reading the left page and his right eye reading the right page.
But throughout his life he still needed 24-hour care. Despite his great mental agility, his motor skills remained limited; he could not perform simple tasks such as dressing himself or combing his hair.
His father Fran became his sole carer after Mr Peek’s parent divorced in 1975. Fran Peek said that care of his son was a 30-hour-day, 10-day-a-week job but he did it devotedly, encouraging Kim to make the most of his abilities. But Mr Peek
Kim was a genius, reading 8 books in one day is just amazing, and had the ability to retain so much information, maybe more than a computer hard drive, but in all of this Kim could not perform simple tasks like brushing his hair, or getting dressed he heavily relied on his father, someone with Autism who was a genius but with such a HUGE Hidden disability
remained deeply introverted. It was not until he met Dustin Hoffman, when the Hollywood star was researching his role in Rain Man,