Tiny ‘Darth Vader’ Leaves Hospital After Heart Surgery


Max Page (CNN)

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By the CNN Wire Staff

LOS ANGELES (CNN) — Max Page, the 7-year-old who played a mini-Darth Vader in a Volkswagen commercial, Monday left a hospital in Los Angeles where he had undergone heart surgery.

“I’m feeling great,” a squirmy and smiley Max told a room full of reporters on his way out the door. “I do feel a little pain in my chest, but not much.”

Asked what he was planning to do next, he said: “Well, I’m excited about a lot of things — especially having a milkshake.”

Max was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect that in this case affected the function of his pulmonary valve, which helps the flow of blood through the heart. After a number of measures to preserve his pulmonary valve, doctors replaced it last week with a porcine valve that should last 10 to 15 years, according to the website of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

“We’re hopeful that this will be — quite possibly — the last major surgery that Max will need,” said Michael Silka, co-director of The Heart Institute at the hospital.

Max is best-known for playing the role of a mini-Darth Vader character in a Super Bowl advertisement for Volkswagen. In the ad, he goes around his parents’ house trying to use “The Force” on various household items without much success.

He tries the washer and dryer. A doll. A sandwich. Nothing happens. Not even the family dog is moved.

But when he tries to wield “The Force” on his dad’s new car, the engine roars to life — with a little help from dad and his keyfob, of course. You can almost see Max’s eyes, wide-open with amazement, as he holds his arms out and turns to his unseen parents as if to say, “Did you see that?”

“Lance Acord, the director, said what he brought to the spot when they were filming was more of an authenticity because he wasn’t mimicking Darth Vader,” Max’s mom, Jennifer, has said. “He was just challenging Darth Vader and doing what he thought Darth Vader looked like.”

In fact, “Star Wars” fans might note Max bears some resemblance to the actor who played young Anakin Skywalker, who later turned into Darth Vader. And fans are also comparing him a young Mark Hamill, who played Vader’s son, Luke Skywalker.

Not that any of it means much to Max. He still hasn’t seen any of the movies.

“He’s a little scared, still,” his mother said.

CNN’s Taylor Light contributed to this report.

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