Marlon Brando, who died Thursday at age 80, was famous for playing characters who were inarticulate (like Terry Malloy, the boxer-turned-stevedore of ''On the Waterfront'') or soft-spoken (like Don Corleone in ''The Godfather''). So it's fitting, perhaps, that those who worked with him kept their remarks to a minimum upon hearing of his passing. ''Marlon would hate the idea of people chiming in to give their comments about his death,'' said Francis Ford Coppola, who directed Brando in ''Godfather'' and ''Apocalypse Now,'' talking to the Associated Press. ''All I'll say is that it makes me sad he's gone.''
'' He was like a godfather to many young actors worldwide but particularly in this country,'' his ''Godfather'' costar Robert Duvall told the BBC. ''He had enormous positive influence on younger performers.'' Fellow ''Godfather'' actor James Caan said in a statement, ''He influenced more young actors of my generation than any actor. Any one who denies it never understood what it was about. I loved him.''
''I will never forget the wonderful experience working with Marlon, filming with him," said ''Waterfront'' costar Eva Marie Saint in a statement. "Those scenes with him were something I shall always treasure. He was one of the most generous and talented actors.'' Sophia Loren, who co-starred with Brando in 1967's ''A Countess from Hong Kong,'' called the actor a ''dear friend.'' Of his obesity and eccentricity in later years, she told the BBC, ''He had some real tragedies in his life and perhaps stopped looking after himself for that reason.'' Brando's ''Superman'' costar Terence Stamp described him to the BBC as a ''rare diamond.'' Stamp added, ''He had it all yet didn't take himself or life too seriously. He was also the funniest guy and a joy to be with. 'Good night sweet prince.'''
At the time of his death, Brando was about to appear as himself in a movie called ''Brando and Brando,'' about a Tunisian immigrant to the U.S. who idolizes the actor. ''I'm so sad and nearly paralyzed. Shocked,'' the film's French-Tunisian writer/director, Ridha Behi told AP. ''But I will nevertheless make the movie to pay homage to him. I'll go on with the film.'' He added that he would not recast Brando's role. ''No one will take his place. Brando is Brando.''