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Kim Peek, the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning 1988 movie 'Rain Man,' died of a heart attack Saturday at age 58, according to the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah, Peek's home. He was known as a mega-savant who had mental handicaps but also an heightened ability to memorize and recite massive amounts of information.

Peek was an expert on 15 broad categories, including math, literature, sports, classical music, history and geography. He had memorized more than 12,000 books and could compute complex mathematical equations in his head. But he was born without the connective tissue needed to bring the left and right sides of his brain together. Consequently, he was unable to filter information and often had to twist a cord or hum to himself so he could block out distractions, according to the Deseret News. Kim Peek, the inspiration for the Academy Award-winning 1988 movie 'Rain Man,' died of a heart attack Saturday at age 58, according to the Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah, Peek's home. He was known as a mega-savant who had mental handicaps but also an heightened ability to memorize and recite massive amounts of information.

Peek was an expert on 15 broad categories, including math, literature, sports, classical music, history and geography. He had memorized more than 12,000 books and could compute complex mathematical equations in his head. But he was born without the connective tissue needed to bring the left and right sides of his brain together. Consequently, he was unable to filter information and often had to twist a cord or hum to himself so he could block out distractions, according to the Deseret News.

Kim and his dad first met 'Rain Man' screenwriter Barry Morrow at a convention in the '80s and two years later Morrow had written and sold the 'Rain Man' script. Dustin Hoffman spent time with Kim and with other savants while preparing for the role and Morrow later gave Kim the Academy Award he won for Best Screenplay. Kim carried it with him on his travels.

'Rain Man,' starring Hoffman as the afflicted Raymond Babbitt and Tom Cruise as his brother and directed by Barry Levinson, won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor, in addition to Best Screenplay.

Kim Peek: The Real Rain Man


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"Over 200 boxes worth of books stored on his brain's hard drive ..."
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