Boy who played Mini-Darth Vader in VW ad gets new pacemaker generator
Boy Who Played Mini-Darth Vader in Hit Ad Gets New Pacemaker Generator. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles photo
By PHIL HELSEL, NBC News
(NBC News) - The pint-sized Darth Vader who captured the hearts of America when he appeared in a popular Super Bowl commercial four years ago received a new pacemaker generator Tuesday at a Los Angeles hospital.
Max Page, 10, was born with a congenital heart condition. He appeared in the 2011 Volkswagen commercial in which the boy, dressed as a smaller version of the infamous "Star Wars" Dark Lord of the Sith, tries to use "the force" to start a 2012 Passat in a driveway. The video has been viewed more than 62 million times, at least, online.
The commercial served as a debut for the Volkswagen Passat made in Chattanooga.
"We are excited for Max," his father, Buck, said in a statement after the 30-minute surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.
"The energy this takes wears on you but even today before the surgery, Max said, 'I want to get this done.' It was game day," the boy's father said. "He wants to get on with life; he is very excited about going into the sixth grade this year and wants to get started with school."
In the ad, Max tries and fails to use his powers to start a treadmill, to get a reaction from an unimpressed family dog, and to move his sandwich down a counter — his mother slides the plate over, to the boy's frustration. He has more luck when attempting the feat on the car, which is started by his father's keychain control.
Max underwent his first surgery at the age of 3, and this year was diagnosed with conduit stenosis, which was restricting blood flow from his hear to his lungs, NBC Los Angeles reported. In July, Max underwent a three-hour procedure to replace a pulmonary valve that was implanted in 2012, the hospital said.
The new pacemaker generator should last 7 years, the hospital said. The pacemaker monitors the boy's heart rate and kicks in if it falls below 70 beats per minute, and keeps the rate in sync at higher heart rates.
"Max is a remarkable young man and we are honored to take care of him," cardiothoracic surgeon Winfield Wells said in a statement.