Lady Gaga and Vince Vaughn joined more than 4,500 Chicagoans in an icy dip into Lake Michigan for the annual Polar Plunge on Sunday to support the Special Olympics.
"It’s too late to turn back now," Vaughn told the crowd before heading into the icy waters. "Let’s just get out and have some fun.
The "Wedding Crashers" actor and Lake Forest native was dressed in his Chicago Blackhawks jersey and jeans. He first went in up to his knees, then slowly fell backward in the water.
U.S. & World
While Vaughn was the guest of honor at the event, Lady Gaga's appearance was a surprise. Polar Plunge spokeswoman Maura Bruton confirmed to The Associated Press that Gaga participated in the plunge.
She entered the water on the shoulders of her fiance, Taylor Kinney, star of "Chicago Fire." Kinney was scheduled to participate in the event his year with co-stars David Eigenberg and Randy Flagler. All three participated in last year's event.
Last year, "Tonight Show " host Jimmy Fallon helped raise more than $1 million at the event. Fallon jumped into Lake Michigan wearing a suit and tie.
But don't expect him to participate in the plunge any time soon. On "The Tonight Show" segment following the 2014 Polar Plunge, Fallon said "absolutely not" to a repeat.
"I'll donate money. I'll do whatever else. I'm not -- I mean, that was just crazy," Fallon said.
Fortunately for Vaughn and others, this year's weather for the Polar Plunge wasn't as bad as last year's when temperatures barely reached the teens. Despite suffering one of the coldest Februaries on record in Chicago, the temperature was above 20 degrees Sunday.
The warmth of the air, however, is not much of an indication for the warmth of the water. More than 85 percent of Lake Michigan was covered in ice, and the consistent record-breaking low temperatures this winter meant the water was downright icy cold.
Regarding the Chicago brand of cold, however, Vaughn had another advantage over Fallon. The actor grew up in suburban Lake Forest, while Fallon grew up in New York. As cold as the winters can be in New York, Chicagoans know that's one area where Chicago often overcomes its second-city status.
Vaughn is no stranger to daring stunts on North Avenue Beach. In 2010, he jumped out of an airplane at the Chicago Air and Water Show and landed -- safely -- on the beach. As Casey Hogan, the president of Special Olympics Chicago, the beneficiary of the event, said, jumping into a lake should be easy in comparison.
Mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia also took the plunge Sunday. Last year, Mayor Rahm Emanuel participated with Fallon after challenging the comedian to do the stunt.
This year's event had a record 4,500 people register to take the plunge, and participants raised $1.1 million.