SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A man who spent decades terrifying tourists along San Francisco Fisherman’s Wharf area has died.
Gregory Jacobs, who was better known as the bushman, passed away last Sunday. He was 60-years-old. He had been in and out of the hospital with heart problems recently.
Troy Campbell, executive director of the Fisherman’s Wharf Community Benefit District says Jacob’s death is a loss to the area’s rich culture of street performances. He was a fixture at the wharf for 30 years who usually sat in front of the Anchorage Building on Jefferson Street.
Here is a look at Jacobs in action:
He would typically sit behind a couple of branches, wait for an unsuspecting tourist to walk by, and then lunge at them, sometimes growling.
Those he startled might scream or yell, but many stayed to watch and laugh at others as they got the same scare. Often a crowd would form, and many people left money in the tip jar for the free show.
Jacobs was one of two people doing the Bushman act. The other, David Johnson, styles himself the World Famous San Francisco Bushman and has a Facebook page with more than 800 likes.
“You hate them when you get scared by them, you love them when you see other people get scared by them,” Campbell said.
The bushman tactics weren’t always well received.
Marina merchants sometimes chased away the performers, saying it wasn’t nice to spook people.
The district attorney’s office even filed a lawsuit against the original Bushman, though it was eventually dropped.
“They really add to the character of the area,” Campbell added. “Long before I moved to San Francisco I had heard about the Bushman.”
Before taking to the bush, Jacobs was a short-order cook who decided to try street performance.
Duggan’s Funeral Home on 17th Street in San Francisco confirmed that a viewing is scheduled for Jacobs on Tuesday.