SAN CLEMENTE (CBSLA.com) — The little boy who became a big star playing Darth Vader in a now-classic Super Bowl commercial is facing more heart surgery.
Max Page played Little Darth Vader in the Volkswagen Passat ad in 2011. In the commercial, Max tries to start the clothes dryer, washing machine and wake the family dog to no avail. He discovers he does have the power to start the Passat; actually, dad helped out with a remote control.
Cute, adorable, priceless. Max became an instant star. Overnight, the video leaked on YouTube before the big game had more than 1 million views. More than 8 million saw the ad before it aired during the Super Bowl.
Max, who was born with a congenital heart defect, is now 10.
He had his first heart surgery when he was 3 months old.
His family says July 10, he got a new kind of heart valve. That was surgery No. 10.
Kim spoke to Max and his family Thursday night.
“Focus on the things you can do instead of what you can’t do,” Max said.
Thursday night, he has a different focus. Surgery No. 11.
Mom Jennifer says the “Melody Valve” procedure performed last month helped Max avoid another open-heart surgery.
“In 2012, Max had a valve put in; it was an open heart surgery, very, very long recovery, very very painful. So, it’s just revolutionary what they can do now and have the ability to do. It cuts our recovery time way down; it’s tremendous,” said Jennifer.
Max also appreciates what modern medicine is doing.
“I think it has made me a lot stronger mentally,” he says.
While Max has outgrown the Darth Vader costume he wore in the commercial these days, the Pages are using the force to bring attention to pediatric diseases and the work being done at CHLA.
“We’ve done nothing to deserve that place being open. And it’s allowed us to give back to them in such a tremendous way; and we’re so grateful for that,” says Jennifer.
For his part, Max just wants to spend less time in the hospital.
“I want to do golf, I can do golf. I want to do baseball, I want to act,” he says, “so a lot of the things I can do are stuff I can just do as a normal kid.”