Lygia Telles was born on April 19, 1923 in São Paulo, Brazil to Maria do Rosário Silva Jardim de Moura and Durval de Azevedo Fagundes. Her father, was an attorney and public prosecutor; he also served as a district attorney, commissioner of police and a judge. Her mother, known as Zazita, was a pianist. Because of the nature of her father's work, the family moved often throughout the state, living at various times in Apiaí, Assis, Itatinga and Sertãozinho. When Lygia was eight years old, Fagundes moved with her mother to Rio de Janeiro, where they remained for five years.