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'Little Darth Vader' From VW Ad Is Having Open Heart Surgery

Seven-year-old Max Page, the young actor best known for being "Little Darth Vader" in a Volkswagen ad that scored big with Super Bowl viewers last year, is having open heart surgery on Thursday.

Max Page in 2011, when he was six.
Sean Gardner / Getty Images
Getty Images
Max Page in 2011, when he was six.

Max has a role on CBS-TV's The Young and Restless soap opera. Network spokeswoman Elise Bromberg tells The Associated Press that he will be operated on at Children's Hospital Los Angeles to replace his pulmonary valve and repair a hole in his heart.

Deutsch LA, the ad agency, notes that Max is an ambassador for the hospital "and he's trying to raise money for other kids who suffer from heart problems." The hospital has an online fundraising site that links to donation pages for kids who are patients there, including Max.

Max's mother, Jennifer Page, sent Deutsch LA an email in which she says that after being told that the time had come to have the surgery "initially, Max was crying and repeating how scared how he was." But later, he said "Mom I don't have a choice. I have to go through it. I don't like it and it's still scary — but I have to. So I think I might as well go through it with a good attitude."

As many are surely thinking, may the force be with you, Max.

Here's the 2011 ad that made him famous.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.