Oscar Winning Phone from Fatal Attraction, Dead at 53

September 22, 2010

LOS ANGELES–TRI Rotary X7-442572, a phone famous for appearing in over 50 feature films and winning an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1988 for his role in Fatal Attraction, died at his home in Santa Barbara on Tuesday.

The cause was a stroke, his spouse, Sharon Miller, said.

He is survived by his three children, Vivian, Brandon, and Susie.

X-2, as he liked to be called, started out as a simple rotary phone in a family home in Hartford, Connecticut, after being manufactured by Two Rogers and sold at a Montgomery Ward.

“I had no idea that I could live any other life besides making a few calls to the Hendersons, or whoever my family wanted to call. And I could have been perfectly happy doing that the rest of my life,” he said in an interview with the Village Voice in 2007.

After dialing the wrong number of a casting director in Hollywood, X-2 got his break in a small role as a phone in the 1967 classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

“I was just 10, so I wasn’t intimidated by Sidney [Poitier] or the gravity of the movie itself, I was just excited to be acting.”

That role led to a chance meeting with Dennis Hopper, who supported X-2’s career throughout his early career and the two later became good friends. On the set of Apocalypse Now in 1977, X-2 urged an erratic, relapsing Hopper to put aside his difficulties and learn his lines.

“X-2 really talked him off the ledge and deserves just as much credit for the performance as Dennis,” said Francis Ford Coppolla, director of Apocalypse Now. “I think Dennis respected him because they both had their battles with drugs and alcohol together when they were living in Salinas. Their swimming pool was in the shape of a phallus.”

After a few stints in off-Broadway productions and a 5-year span as an animal trainer, X-2 was cast as the phone for both Michael Douglas’ character and Glenn Close’s character in Fatal Attraction.

“After I had read the script a few times, it just clicked with me,” X-2 said. “The phone in that screenplay is so integral to the psychological state of the characters, I was thrilled to be a part of it. Plus, playing a cordless, that was just something I had always wanted to do.”

After winning the Academy Award, X-2 largely shied away from taking any major roles, preferring to spend time with his family and take fly fishing trips with Hopper and mutual friend Jack Nicholson.

Reached for comment on X-2’s death, Mr. Nicholson noted that X-2 was “a helluva phone, and the SAG [Screen Actors Guild] has lost a true genius.”

A memorial service for X-2 will be held in the parking lot of a shuttered Circuit City in Los Angeles County on Friday at 10:00am.

X-2 and Mr. Nicholson take in a Lakers game in 2005

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  1. Yuri Nazkedisi on October 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    A sad day, I remember when he took on that supporting role in Alien as a favor to James Cameron and then the favor was returned when he was cast in Titanic, and later Avatar.

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