Veiller was a journalist, publicist, and stage manager prior to moving to Hollywood in 1930. He married literary agent Laura Kerr in 1934 with whom he would have a daughter born in 1936. Under contract to RKO from 1934 through 1937 as both a writer and producer, his screenplays included those for Break of Hearts, Star of Midnight, The Ex-Mrs. Bradford, Swing Time (contributing writer only), A Woman Rebels, Winterset, and Stage Door, receiving an Oscar nomination for the latter along with Morrie Ryskind.
One of Veiller’s best screenplays for RKO was Gunga Din which was not produced until 1939. In the U.S. Army during World War II, he was a major in the film office where he worked with Frank Capra on four Why We Fight documentaries. He also collaborated with the British on two of their documentaries including 1944’s Tunisian Victory.
Back in Hollywood after the war, Veiller was divorced from Kerr in 1945, the year he wrote the screenplay for the widely panned Adventure. He rebounded with two major successes in 1946, Orson Welles’ The Stranger and Robert Siodmak’s The Killers, earning an Oscar nomination for the latter. That film also earned him an Edgar Allan Poe award for Best Picture which he shared with Siodamak and producer Mark Hellinger.