Celebrity reporter: 5 stars who surprised me

We celebrity reporters are always surprised by which stars are nice, mean or fun. Us Weekly’s Mike Doria told me the five stars who most surprised him were Lindsay Lohan, Gary Busey, Aubrey Plaza, Michael Phelps and Ian Ziering.

I asked him which stars were nightmares, but (unlike the rest of us) he doesn’t remember many.

“The only one I have is Audrina (Patridge) from ‘The Hills,’ but who is she?”

So who surprised him?

1. Lindsay Lohan: “This was in the height of her disaster period,” Doria said. “I just expected I was going to get Lindsay Lohan all hopped up on goofballs, all loaded. Instead, I got one of the most articulate, longest interviews I have ever gotten.”

It took place at MGM Grand’s Wet Republic day club.

“She was so respectful, and she was so eloquent,” Doria said. “I was really thankful for that. It proved there was hope for her.”

2. Gary Busey: “I was so scared to go up to Gary Busey because I’m like, ‘This guy is going to bite my head off. He’s going to be the Gary Busey you see in the news.’

“I asked him one question about coming across abrasive on TV, and he said, ‘The reason for that is I’m hard of hearing. So I have to talk louder. … When Marlee Matlin gave me her hearing aid doctor, that’s when I started to hear again.’ ”

I interviewed Busey a few minutes before Doria did at a “Celebrity Apprentice” event at Encore, but Busey brushed me off to harass a female reporter. Doria saw that.

“Flirting with her is an understatement,” Doria recalled. “I mean, he was caressing her hair.”

3. Aubrey Plaza: “I don’t know what happened, but it was like two 13-year-old schoolgirls took over our bodies, and the two of us were hysterically laughing throughout the entire interview,” Doria said. “I don’t even know that we got an actual story out of the interview, but we got a lot of laughter.”

4. Michael Phelps: “I was told, ‘Don’t even think about trying to ask him a question, because he’s not doing interviews,’ ” Doria said. “I yell out, ‘Phelps!’ I’m waving my hands to point out my shortness. He looks at me. I had to point to myself and say, ‘Fellow swimmer, may I shake your hand?’ ”

Phelps talked to Doria, took a photo with him and gave him an autograph.

5. Ian Ziering: “I interviewed this guy for my podcast, thinking I would do this fun, hourlong show on high school reunions because he played Steve Sanders on ‘Beverly Hills, 90210.’

“It turns out both of his parents had died within a short amount of time. He said, ‘Find your why in life. Why are you doing anything you’re doing? Find your why.’

“That stuck with me so much, and he was one of the sweetest guys you’ve ever met. I was not expecting Ian Ziering — Steve Sanders — to give me this big wake-up call and change my outlook on life.”

Doria (who is also a public relations manager for David Saxe Productions) has a new book called “It’s a Sign, Stupid,” chronicling signs from his spiritual journey, which led to his outlook on life and destiny. Holly Madison figures in the book for inspiring Doria to balance life and work.

But Doria’s book begins with his mother’s suicide. He said he wasn’t sure what drove him to write the book until a reader contacted him.

“She said, ‘You know what? If I hadn’t read your book when I did, I probably would have taken my life.’

“I don’t need any review for this book, or criticism or praise, because that was the biggest reward I could get.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.

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