Paul Livadary

Photo taken by Serene Meshel-Dillman

Paul Livadary plays piano for the "5th Dementia" band.

Photo taken by Serene Meshel-Dillman

See Paul's story on CNN Heroes 2018!

Paul John Livadary has lead a rich life, being a father, husband, attorney, philanthropist and founder of the Pasadena Waldorf School. He is known for being a kindhearted and compassionate man whose humor, smile and friendly outlook are contagious. He’s proudly married to Marina Day and adores his four children – Sarah, Katie, Emily and Matt and is known by his grandchildren as “Popou.”

Photo taken by Serene Meshel-Dillman

Paul was born in Los Angeles on October 6th, 1937. His mother was a Greek woman by way of Chicago and his Greek father, who immigrated from Turkey in 1917 before becoming an instrumental part of bringing sound to motion pictures (he won three Oscars and five technical achievement awards). Paul and his older sister Liz grew up in Los Feliz, where Paul attended Harvard Westlake Boys School and spent summers racing sailboats at Balboa Island. 

 At the age of 5, Paul sat down at the Piano and realized he could play songs he heard by ear. This gift would come to serve him through his life, starting by making some extra tuition money by playing at piano bars and with jazz bands while attending Stanford University.

Paul enlisted in the US Army and in 1960 was assigned to the Counterintelligence Corps in New York City. He remembers being in the back of the room during the United Nations Assembly when Khrushchev famously banged his shoe against the lectern — Paul, assigned to body guard then British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan, thought World War 3 was upon us. 

After graduating Berkeley Law school, Paul began working at the acclaimed firm O’Melveny and Myers where he’d become partner. After 18 years at O’Melveny, Paul left to start his own private practice.

Paul is a deeply spiritual person. Having been inspired by the teachings and Waldorf education model of Rudolph Steiner, Paul took action in 1979 to do something he had no business attempting: start a school. His first daughter Sarah had just been born and Paul felt more certain than anything in his life that he was supposed to start a Waldorf School. His first class had 8 students and operated out of a community room – Paul literally had to beg parents to send their kids to his start up school as he attempted to find a permanent campus, long term teachers and, of course, more students. He found the incredible house at 5133 Mariposa St in Altadena and secured it as his school’s main campus. Thirty-two years later, the Pasadena Waldorf School thrives as a first-rate institution that teaches students to be creative, critical thinkers with a strong moral compass.  A bronze plaque that sits at the doorway is dedicated to Paul’s work, vision and passion.

 Signs of Alzheimer's were first identified in Paul nearly 6 years ago. Playing in the 5th Dementia and being reunited with the piano is one of the greatest gifts he's ever received. Paul enjoys playing old classic pop tunes and continues to play just about anything he hears by ear!