William Shatner Won’t Apologize For Missing Leonard Nimoy’s Funeral, Says His ‘Star Trek’ Co-Star Would Have Understood

William Shatner won’t apologize for missing Leonard Nimoy’s funeral, and thinks his former Star Trek co-star would have understood the reason for why he skipped out on the memorial.

Shatner raised a bit of controversy back in March when he announced that he would honor a commitment to appear at a fundraiser for the Red Cross, even though it meant missing Nimoy’s funeral.

“I am currently in FL [Florida] as I agreed to appear at the Red Cross Ball tonight,” Shatner shared with fans. “Leonard’s funeral is tomorrow. I can’t make it back in time. I feel really awful. Here I am doing charity work and one of my dearest friends is being buried.”

Many were outraged at the decision, with the New York Daily News calling William Shatner “Captain Jerk” for missing Leonard Nimoy’s memorial. Shatner took this in stride, posting the image to his Twitter feed and asking fans for feedback.

But William Shatner still stands by the decision not to go to Leonard Nimoy’s funeral. In an interview with Extra, Shatner said he felt committed to the charity event and believes Nimoy would have understood.

“I felt I had to go to the Red Cross meeting rather than go to his funeral (and I) caught a bit of flack for that. My thought was, ‘We’ll remember the dead but we’ll deal with the living whose needs are right now’, so I helped raise a lot of money for the Red Cross, which is helping people. I know Leonard would’ve wanted me to do that.”

William Shatner, who had previously said he loved Nimoy “like a brother,” added that he spent a lot of time with Leonard as he was losing his struggle with the respiratory disease COPD.

“He was sick for quite a while. He had trouble breathing for months. We had spent a lot of time prior to that, where he would say in mock seriousness, ‘Why didn’t you tell me to stop smoking?’ long before he did. It’s a real lesson about the worst of what smoking can do to you. That COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) it’s got to be one of the most horrendous ways to die where you can’t catch your breath, so they had him sedated for a while.”

While William Shatner was unable to attend Leonard Nimoy’s funeral, he has remembered his friend in other ways. Shatner took to Twitter to discuss their time together on Star Trek and how they were “destined” to be friends after being born just four days apart.

[Photo by Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images]