Even if you know me well, you might be surprised by what I'm about to tell you.
I owe my life here at E! to Anderson Jones and my grandfather, David M. Nelson.
For those of you who don't know Anderson, he was E! Online's resident movie expert (my film counterpart) for many years, and one of the most outrageously nutty and exuberant and sweaty and intoxicating and hilarious people I've ever known.
Anderson (known to friends and colleagues as Andy) suffered a fatal coronary during a screening of A Mighty Heart last Thursday night. And you'll have to forgive me, because his death and the death of my grandfather (the greatest guy I've ever known) just a few days later, have left me extremely sentimental but also so incredibly grateful for, well, everything. Because both the 38-year-old and 82-year-old who passed away have directly brought me to where I am today.
As strange as it may sound, I accepted to the position I now define myself by—resident couch potato for E! and E! Online—because of Andy Jones. Back in 1999, I was offered the position here at E! but turned it down twice, thinking I wouldn't last a nanosecond in the nutty world of Hollywood. I needed someone to bitch-slap me into my new reality, and that someone was Andy.
In December of 1999, I went to E!'s ginormous Christmas party at the Hollywood Athletic Club and met Andy, who immediately took me under his wing and told me how I was destined to work under the E! fold. He sold it. He made me laugh. He made me gasp. He said all the wrong things, and I instantly loved him for it. And so it was Andy who inspired me to call our presiding editor in chief, Lew Harris, the very next day and accept a position here at E! Online.
A week later, while eating Christmas dinner, I had a lapse of confidence about whether I'd made the right decision, and told my fam I was afraid that little unglamorous me would get eaten alive by the soul-sucking, food-chucking, tummy-tucking world of Hollywood. My grandfather, David Nelson, slammed his fist on the table and exclaimed, "Malarky! You're beautiful and smart. And if anyone gives you any problems, you just let me know and I'll break their kneecaps with a sledgehammer."
Yep, it was just what I needed to hear, and he was pretty much the most awesome grandpa that ever was. And as I prepare for my own wedding and another chapter in my life (told ya, I'm getting sappy!), I just have to extend a big, hearty thank you to Anderson Jones and, most important, David M. Nelson, who have, among many other accomplishments, brought me to where I am today.