Kim Peek has passed on

22 Dec

I was literally just about to write a post referencing Kim Peek when I found this story on the news: Father says Kim Peek, Utah man who inspired Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Rain Man’ character, dies at 58.

Kim Peek was a savant. He was the inspiration for the character Dustin Hoffman played in the movie “Rain Man”. This movie was and likely still is what many outside the autism communities think of when the hear the word “autism”. Interestingly, Mr. Peek was not autistic as such, but had a condition called “Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum” or ACC.

I tried to contact Mr. Peek earlier in the year for an interview on LBRB.

Here are some videos about the man.

I’ve been thinking a lot about Mr. Peek. I was actually worried that Mr. Peek’s father may have passed on. Kim Peek was very dependent on his father.

I wish Fran Peek well in getting past the loss of a child he obviously loved and who brought him joy. Episode 5 in the above series shows some of the relationship between father and son.

“My father and I share the same shadow” –Kim Peek

17 Responses to “Kim Peek has passed on”

  1. Sullivan December 22, 2009 at 02:57 #

    Here is a comment by his father

    Fran Peek describes his son this way: “Kim is not behaviorally autistic. He has a warm, loving personality. He truly cares for people and enjoys sharing his unique skills and knowledge capacity. Known as ‘Kimputer’ to many, his knowledge-library includes World and American History, People and Leaders, Geography (roads and highways in U.S. and Canada), Professional Sports (baseball, basketball, football, Kentucky Derby winners etc), the Space Program, Movies and movie themes, Actors and Actresses, the Bible, Mormon Church Doctrine and History, Calendar Calculations (including a person’s day of birth, present year’s birthday, and the year and the date the person will turn 65 years old so he or she can retire), Literature/Authors, Shakespeare, Telephone Area Codes, major ZIP Codes, all TV stations and their markets. He can identify most classical music compositions and tell the date the music was written and the composer’s birth date and place of birth and death Kim has read (and can recall) some 7600 books. He also keeps current on world, U.S. and most local events by reading newspapers, magazines and by listening to the media. He reads constantly He can also describe the highways that go to a person’s small town, the county, area code and ZIP code, television stations available in the town, who the person’s pay their telephone bill to, and describe any historical events that may have occurred in their area. His expertise includes at least 14 subject areas.”

  2. Liz Ditz December 22, 2009 at 04:20 #

    Dear Mr. Peek,

    Should you read this post, please accept my deep condolences on the loss of your son.

    The videos posted above show the great love and affection you shared, which should be an inspiration to all parents.

  3. Ange December 22, 2009 at 04:37 #

    My deepest condolences to the family. While my son doesn’t have any savant capabilities that I’m aware of, he does have agenesis of the corpus callosum, and Kim Peek has alway been a familiar and wonderful voice in that community.

  4. David N. Andrews M. Ed., C. P. S. E. December 22, 2009 at 08:17 #

    Saddened to know this.

  5. Shanna December 22, 2009 at 13:26 #

    My heart goes out to Mr. Peek for his loss.

    I watched the documentary above about savants and Kim Peek while my son was an infant. I had already begun to suspect his autism but we were a ways away from getting a diagnosis. I remember thinking that Kim and his father shared such a beautiful love. I just loved the quote “My father and I share the same shadow”. I think of that quote often when I think of my own son. It always makes me smile.

  6. Irene Burton December 22, 2009 at 15:17 #

    My deepest and heartfelt condolences to Mr Peek and his family. I cannot begin to imagine how he feels. He should know he is the best example of parenting the rest of us could ask for.

  7. Leila December 22, 2009 at 16:17 #

    RIP Kim, you were one cool guy and will be missed. I’m glad the movie was made and people will remember you forever as the inspiration for the Rain Man’s character.

    Wow, what a great, great Dad. A wonderful role model for parents of autistic people everywhere. I’d love to talk to him one day.

  8. Wilbert December 22, 2009 at 16:25 #

    I am deeply saddened by the death of Kim Peek.
    My deepest condolences to Fran Peek and the rest of his family and loved ones.
    Kim was a great inspiration to us all…

  9. Sullivan December 22, 2009 at 17:42 #

    I loved his answer to the question “are you happy” (he said something like “I am happy just looking at you”)

    I loved his comment, “you don’t have to be handicapped to be different, everybody is different”

    I’m sure life was hard for the Peeks. But I find the videos above more compelling than the movie. The interaction between father and son makes a better story to me than the movie.

  10. Theo December 22, 2009 at 17:56 #

    May the good man rest in peace. We need more good men like this man and his father around in this world!

    May flights of angels wing you to your rest and be a comfort to your family Kim!

  11. Mike Stanton December 22, 2009 at 23:59 #

    I too offer my condolences. But I cannot ignore the irony in the fact that the most iconic image of autism from the final quarter of the 20th century was a movie character based on a man who was not autistic. At the same time many autistic people, including some of those expressing their condolences here, have been berated by some and had their diagnosis challenged because they do not measure up to the stereotype presented in Rainman.

    Of course, none of this is Kim Peek’s responsibility. In everything I read or watched concerning him he always came across as a gentle, loving man. I agree Daniel Tammet, who is an autistic savant. He described his meeting with Kim Peek in his book, “Born on a Blue Day.”

    Kim’s special gift is not only his brain, but also his heart, his humanity, his ability to touch the lives of others in a truly unique way.

    It is no surprise that Daniel describes meeting Kim as

    one of the happiest days of my life.

  12. DV82XL December 23, 2009 at 01:11 #

    The whole world is diminished by this loss, Mr Peek put a human face on savant syndrome, dispelling many of the myths that surrounded it.

  13. Emily L. Williams December 28, 2009 at 20:29 #

    R.I.P., Kim.

    He was such an inspiration IRL. I’m glad he’s been so well-documented, so that he can continue to do exactly the same after death.

    He’s left a considerable mark on this world.

  14. Mandar July 29, 2010 at 02:56 #

    Sir,we have a person,similar to kim peek,in india,who has extra ordinary ability to do any arithmetic calculation in fraction of a second,without using any calculator,computer.can u guide us for testing his brain?

  15. Horsegirl April 28, 2011 at 03:26 #

    I’m deeply saddened by this. I didn’t know this until now. I’m autistic, Kim was my hero.

  16. Nasir July 30, 2014 at 14:46 #

    Rest in peace Kim Peek. You are an angel in heaven. And condolences to Fran Peek and the whole world for the lose of Kim Peek. We all will miss you.


  1. Tweets that mention Autism Blog - Kim Peek has passed on « Left Brain/Right Brain -- - December 22, 2009

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kev, teevee aguirre. teevee aguirre said: RIP Kim Peek: the Real Rain Man […]

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