McCarthy died at Grove Nursing Home in Arnprior, Ont. on Jan. 10, according to his family.
He was a radio and television producer at the CBC for 33 years and served as head of children’s programming for 12 years.
For his prize-winning radio series How Do You Say Hello? he visited 13 countries in Southeast Asia interviewing children about their lives. When he needed a half-hour radio show for children, he developed the humorous Rod and Charles Show, featuring Charles Winter and Rod Coneybeare from The Friendly Giant.
After moving to television, he produced The Friendly Giant, the popular Canadian children's television program starring Bob Homme, that ran from 1958 to 1985. The show featured Homme as the giant Friendly, who tells a simple story to his puppet friends Rusty and Jerome.
He also developed Mr. Dressup, which began life in 1967 on CBC. Star Ernie Coombs would draw new costumes each week from his Tickle Trunk and encourage children to play a role or join in making a craft.
Later, McCarthy directed the CBC Sesame Street Project, which brought Canadian landscapes and personalities and an introduction to French to the Canadian version of Sesame Street. McCarthy worked with the Sesame Street workshop in New York to develop Canadian segments for the show, which debuted on CBC in 1972.
Raised in Toronto, McCarthy was educated at St. Michael's College at the University of Toronto, where he studied theology, music and drama.
He married Mary Sue McGee in 1954 and they had seven children. He is survived by his wife, children and six grandchildren.