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William Shatner Doesn't Regret Skipping Leonard Nimoy's Funeral—He Went to Mar-a-Lago Instead

He shrugged off the hate he got after his Star Trek co-star's 2015 death.

William Shatner isn't one to censor his opinions, especially when it comes to his Star Trek co-stars. Though they worked together on the original series more than 50 years ago, he's still asked about his fellow actors in interviews and has regularly feuded in the media with one former castmate in particular: George Takei. Shatner had a friendlier relationship with Leonard Nimoy, the Spock to his Kirk, but he's been criticized for a decision he made following Nimoy's 1995 death. In a new interview with Variety, the 91-year-old actor addressed the hate he got for skipping Nimoy's funeral and declared that he has no regrets about going to an event at Mar-a-Lago instead. Read on to find out more.

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Shatner was booked at a fundraiser.

William Shatner at the premiere of "Better Late Than Never" in 2016
Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock

Variety asked Shatner about his legacy, and he brought up skipping Nimoy's funeral as an example of a good deed that he's done.

"When Leonard Nimoy died a few years ago, his funeral was on a Sunday. His death was very sudden, and I had obligated myself to go to Mar-a-Lago for a Red Cross fundraiser. I was one of the celebrities raising money. That event was on Saturday night," the actor said.

"I chose to keep my promise and go to Mar-a-Lago instead of the funeral, and I said to the audience, 'People ask about a legacy. There's no legacy. Statues are torn down. Graveyards are ransacked. Headstones are knocked over. No one remembers anyone. Who remembers Danny Kaye or Cary Grant? They were great stars. But they're gone and no one cares,'" Shatner continued. "But what does live on are good deeds. If you do a good deed, it reverberates to the end of time. It's the butterfly effect thing."

He doesn't regret the decision.

Leonardo Nimoy and William Shatner promoting a "Star Trek" anniversary event in 2006
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Shatner doesn't give much credence to the backlash he received for skipping his co-star's funeral.

"Who cares?" he said. "I know what I did was right. So it doesn't matter. We're criticized when we lift a finger. I don't read that stuff. I try to not to indulge in the evil that's out there."

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Shatner thinks it's what Nimoy would have wanted.

The actor defended himself in an interview with Extra shortly after the sci-fi star's 2015 death, claiming that Nimoy wouldn't have wanted anything different.

"I felt I had to go to the Red Cross meeting rather than go to his funeral," Shatner said. "Caught a bit of flak for that. But my thought was: We'll remember the dead, but we'll deal with the living whose needs are right now. And so I helped raise a lot of money for the Red Cross which is helping people, and I know Leonard would have wanted me to do that."

The actors had a falling out before Nimoy passed.

Nichelle Nichols, Walter Koenig, George Takei, William Shatner, James Doohan, Leonard Nimoy at the James Doohan Farewell Star Trek Tribute in 2004
s_bukley / Shutterstock

Shatner has shared that Nimoy stopped speaking to him before he died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease but claims that he doesn't know why. He went on to write a book about their relationship titled Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship with a Remarkable Man, which was published in 2016.

In 2022, Shatner was asked about their "rift" during an interview with USA Today.

"No rift. Just a separation," he responded. "I never understood it. I kept trying to get ahold of him, sending him messages. When you get really ill, you don't want to see anybody. Maybe that was it. And he died, and I thought, 'What happened?' Then I thought, 'Well, it's me again, I guess.' But his daughter (Julie [Nimoy]) came to me and said, 'He loved you.' The universe is sending me messages back that whatever happened, he loved me as I loved him. Like a brother. He was my brother. We shared a lifetime."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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