Billy Thorpe, once a leading Australian rock performer, died Feb. 28 in a Sydney hospital after a heart attack. He was 60.

In the early 1970s, Thorpe and his blues-rock band the Aztecs were the biggest drawing card in the country. In 1972, they drew 200,000 to the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne.

Thorpe's career, which spanned five decades, included a series of chart-toppers and such gold albums as "Aztecs! Live at Sunbury" (1972) and "More Arse Than Class" (1974), released on Infinity/Festival.

Meryl O'Loughlin, a veteran casting director and casting executive, died Feb. 27 in Santa Monica of complications from ovarian cancer. She was 73.

O'Loughlin's career in television and features spanned more than 40 years, as a casting director and in the executive ranks. She was first credited as a casting director on "The Outer Limits" in 1964.

From 1996-2000, O'Loughlin served as the casting director for "The Young and the Restless," the No. 1-rated soap opera from Sony Pictures Television and Bell Dramatic Serial Co. on CBS. Her TV series and telefilm credits include the 1990 Jackie Collins miniseries "Lucky/Chances," "ALF," "Crazy Like a Fox," "Fantasy Island," "Hart to Hart," "Lou Grant," "Something for Joey," "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "T.J. Hooker" and "WKRP in Cincinnati."

In the mid-'80s, O'Loughlin became vp talent and casting at Columbia Pictures Television.

Bobby Rosengarden, a versatile jazz drummer and talk show bandleader who played bongos for Harry Belafonte and laid down a beat for Jimi Hendrix during a performance on "The Dick Cavett Show," died Feb. 27 of kidney failure. He was 82.

Rosengarden also played percussion for Duke Ellington, Igor Stravinsky, Dick Hyman and Arlo Guthrie, among others. He was one of the original drummers on "The Tonight Show" and served up one-liners as bandleader on "Dick Cavett" from 1969-74.

Veronika Lineberry,  vp creative services at King World Prods., died suddenly Feb. 22 in Santa Monica. She was 44.

At King World, she oversaw advertising and promotion for the two highest-rated syndicated programs on television, "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!"

Lineberry started her TV career at KENS-TV San Antonio as a videographer, floor manager and set builder. Soon she was promoted to producing promotions. She wrote for the San Antonio Express-News, reviewing concerts and special events.

Still in her 20s, she moved to Binghamton, N.Y., to lead the promotion department for CBS' WBNG-TV, where she also managed the public affairs and art departments. In 1991, she moved to Los Angeles and joined King World (now CBS Television Distribution), where she spent the past 15 years working in advertising and promotion.

Barbara Best, a longtime Hollywood publicist, died Feb. 22 of cardiac arrest at the Rafael Convalescent Center in San Rafael, Calif. She was 84.

Best was recruited by 20th Century Fox in 1943 and for six years was the youngest unit publicist — and one of the few women — in the motion picture industry. She moved to the Stanley Kramer Co. at Columbia Pictures, where she conducted star tours for the company, planned screening programs, researched and wrote speeches and articles for Kramer and was his liaison with the Columbia publicity department.

Ten years out of college, she went into business as Barbara Best Inc. She had been head copy editor and planner for Rogers and Cowan, executive vp at the Jay Bernstein Co. and a partner for seven years in the firm of Freeman and Best, leaving in 1967 to serve as GM and vp at the Vicki Carr Co.