Kibbee began his career writing for radio in 1931, working with Jack Lescoulie, and later collaborated with Nat Hiken, writing for the series The Grouch Club, which starred Lescoulie. After this, Kibbee worked on Fred Allen's staff and wrote for Groucho Marx, before serving in the US Air Force during World War II. Following his military service, he collaborated with Joseph Fields to write the screenplay for the Marx Brothers 1946 film A Night in Casablanca.
He frequently worked on films for Burt Lancaster, including The Crimson Pirate (1952), Vera Cruz (1954), The Devil's Disciple (1959), and Valdez Is Coming (1971). For a time they teamed to form "Norlan Productions". Together they wrote, produced and directed The Midnight Man (1974).
Prominent TV producer and writer Norman Lear also acknowledged that while he would sometimes do the opening monologues for The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, Kibbee was in fact the show's main writer. In a 2015 interview with Variety, Lear credited both Kibbee and Hiken as his two mentors.
- "Writer becomes producer almost in 'self-defense'". Rock Hill Herald. July 17, 1972. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- "THE SCREEN; 'A Night in Casablanca,' With Marx Brothers, at Globe-- 'Our Hearts Were Growing Up' and 'Sirocco' Also Arrive". New York Times. August 12, 1946. Retrieved May 3, 2011.
- "Roland Kibbee Is Dead at 70; Won two Emmys for Writing". The New York Times. 10 August 1984. Retrieved 2011-04-20.