Linda Dégh was born in Budapest, Hungary, and studied at Péter Pázmány University. After graduating, she taught folklore at the Eötvös Loránd University. In 1965, she accepted an invitation to join the Folklore Institute of Indiana University, Bloomington, which had created a new graduate program. She rose to become Distinguished Professor of Folklore and Ethnomusicology. In 1968, she founded Indiana Folklore, the official journal of the Hoosier Folklore Society, which she edited until it folded in 1980. She was named a Fellow of the American Folklore Society in 1971, and served as its president in 1982. She published 18 books and wrote more than 200 scholarly articles and essays. In 1983, she and her husband Andrew Vázsonyi co-wrote "Does the Word 'Dog' Bite? Ostensive Action: A Means of Legend Telling." She received many awards and honors for her work, including a the Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award from the American Folklore Society.