Deaths Elsewhere

Deaths Elsewhere

November 25, 2003

Teddy Randazzo, 68, co-author of more than 600 songs for acts including the Temptations and Frank Sinatra, died Friday in Orlando, Fla., of undetermined causes.

With co-writer Bobby Weinstein and others, Mr. Randazzo created hits such as "Goin' Out of My Head," "Hurt So Bad" and "It's Gonna Take a Miracle" for acts such as Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Lettermen, Linda Ronstadt, the Temptations and Mr. Sinatra.

He began his career at age 15 as lead singer of the group the Three Chuckles. The band's first hit, "Runaround," rose to No. 20 on the Billboard charts.

Joseph Williams, 88, whose development of the multipurpose credit card helped revolutionize the way people spend money, died Nov. 8 in Atlantis, Fla.

As an executive with San Francisco-based Bank of America in 1958, he developed the BankAmericard. Although gasoline and department store credit cards existed, and some smaller banks had issued credit cards that could be used locally, the BankAmericard was the first widely distributed card that could be used for a wide variety of purchases that could be paid for in installments.

At first, the BankAmericard was a failure, with Bank of America losing $8.8 million in its first 15 months and delinquencies topping 20 percent. Critics said the bank was moving the country toward an immoral, credit-dominated economy.

The card caught on, however. Licensed for use by banks outside California in 1966, it was renamed Visa in the 1970s.

Tony Thompson, 48, a drummer who was the driving force behind such groups as Power Station and Chic, one of the most popular groups in the disco era, died Nov. 12 in Los Angeles of renal cell cancer.

He was a session player for such stars as Madonna, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle and Sister Sledge. He played on Sister Sledge's album We Are Family in 1979, Bowie's Let's Dance in 1983 and Madonna's Like a Virgin in 1984.

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