Exclusive! William Shatner Tells Inside Edition Why He Missed Leonard Nimoy's Funeral

William Shatner is speaking out to INSIDE EDITION today defending himself against critics who say he 'should' have been at the funeral of his longtime friend and co-star Leonard Nimoy.

Embattled William Shatner is being slammed for missing his co-star Leonard Nimoy's funeral. Captain Kirk arrived back in Los Angeles at 11:30 a.m. Sunday more than two hours after the services.

He told INSIDE EDITION, "I choose to celebrate life over death."

The New York Daily News headline called him "Captain Jerk." Ouch.

Shatner flew in from Florida where he spent Saturday night attending a Red Cross ball at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort.

Shatner tweeted: "I chose to honor a commitment I made months ago to appear at a charitable fundraiser. A lot of money was raised."

And, many Star Trek fans really let him have it.

"Lame excuse. Man up," one said.

Another said, "Who advises this man? How does his brain work?"

Shatner hit back, saying, "All haters do is hate."

Shatner also got support from America's Got Talent's Howard Stern. He told INSIDE EDITION, "This guy was at a charity event. You're going to criticize a guy who held up his commitment to the Red Cross? And then we're going to judge how much he loved Leonard Nimoy?"

Others questioned why Shatner didn't spring for a private jet to fly back to Los Angeles in time for the funeral.

NYC radio host Todd Schnitt said, "Keep your Red Cross charitable commitment in Palm Beach and then get on a private jet and fly to the funeral. I'm sure he could have arranged that."

Palm Beach Post reporter Leslie Gray Streeter attended the Red Cross gala at Mar-a-Lago.

She told INSIDE EDITION, "He asked for a moment of silence. He said, you know, I lost a friend of mine, Leonard Nimoy, he'll never be forgotten."

Shatner told INSIDE EDITION, "I asked over 1,000 people to remember Leonard Nimoy."

Nimoy's funeral was held at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary. His widow, Susan Bay, was later photographed surrounded by loved ones in Beverly Hills.

A final farewell to a beloved American icon.