Freddie Highmore and his portrayal of Dr. Shaun Murphy in the series The Good Doctor have the viewers hooked. Dr. Murphy’s tragic backstory, afflictions, and Highmore’s performance made for a highly believable performance. But this has not been the British actor’s only role of consequence, the audience has seen him grow up on the screen.
Despite all his fame, Highmore is a rather private person. The newspapers do not tell tales of his flashy life, nor has his off-screen antics made the headline.
So, following the wildly successful TV show, which already has 6 seasons, the viewers are curious about his real life. Is Freddie Highmore autistic in real life? Read on to find out.
Does Freddie Highmore Have Autism?
No, in real life Freddie Highmore does not have autism. But his portrayal of the autistic doctor on screen has been real enough to confuse most viewers.
To play the role, Highmore had to study plenty and do his research quite thoroughly. The showrunner David Shore along with their autism consultant Melissa Reiner worked hard to craft the particular character.
In an ABC interview, Highmore explained how watching various documentaries as well as reading literature helped him and the crew prepare. They found useful insights that helped them build Dr. Shaun Murphy, as well as avoid the stereotypes.
Dealing with autism in a popular show meant that the crew had to work hard and make sure their portrayal was accurate. Quality research had been an important part of the preparation, especially concerning Highmore’s mannerisms.
During the research, they found that autistic kids are encouraged to clasp their hands together, a movement frequently seen in the show.
In shows we often see characters change and evolve throughout the seasons, and Dr. Shaun Murphy is no different. As Highmore said to The Los Angeles Times, Shaun will always have autism, but he will continue growing as an individual. The character is on a journey and will adapt to his surrounding, regardless of autism.
Freddie Highmore In Life
Freddie or Alfred Thomas Highmore was born in Camden Town, London. The talented actor’s mother Sue Latimer was a talent agent while his father Edward Thomas Highmore was a former actor.
Highmore started acting as a child, but that did not come between his education. He graduated with a double-first degree in Spanish and Arabic from Emmanuel College.
Highmore also is not a fan of parading his personal life publicly. It was through an interview with Jimmy Kimmel in September 2021 that fans came to know that the actor had married. Internet sources revealed that his bride was a web developer named Klarissa Munz.
Highmore maintains that he is very happy living privately and will not be publicizing his affairs on talk shows.
His Previous Roles
Freddie Highmore’s introduction in the entertainment industry had been as early as 1999. His debut movie Women Talking Dirty had been beside A-listers like Helena Bonham Carter and Gina McKee.
Highmore’s big break had been playing the role of Charlie Bucket in Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The actor would go on to act in other critically acclaimed movies like August Rush (2007), The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008), and The Art of Getting By (2011).
But the character for which Highmore was highly praised was the role of a young Norman Bates in Bates Motel (2013- 2017). After the huge success of Bates Motel, he was inducted into his next project, The Good Doctor.
Preparation For The Role Of Dr. Shaun Murphy
The Good Doctor led Freddie Highmore on an intensive journey of research for his role. But as the seasons progressed, Highmore’s knowledge of the spectrum increased as well.
In a conversation with Digital Spy, he explained that talking to other people who feel connected to the show has increased his knowledge further.
As the actor is constantly learning more about ASD, he is also grateful for the characterization of Shaun Murphy. Instead of being a one-dimensional person focused only on one aspect of his life, Murphy is shown to enjoy joy along with the struggles.
Highmore also emphasizes how he is fortunate to work on a project like this and help spread awareness.
The Show’s Dedication To The Portrayal Of Autism
The attention to detail made Dr. Shaun Murphy seem more than a tv character. The little movements go a long way in proving the show’s authenticity, but there was criticism as well. Casting a neurotypical actor for the lead role did not go over well with the audience. However, the crew handled it quite well by casting actors with ASD.
In Season 2 Episode 13, “Xin,” Shaun treats a patient with autism. Even in the first season, we see the autistic actor Coby Bird play the role of a patient who has ASD. Season 2 also has guest stars like Alex Plank playing an autistic person while being on the spectrum himself.
Freddie Highmore or Dr. Shaun Murphy for The Good Doctor fans is not autistic in real life.
But the talented actor made sure that his performance as a person with autism was authentic with thorough research.
The result was a brilliant portrayal that kept away from stereotypes while showing the necessary details.