New Zealand-born actor Matt Whelan's talent for comedy, romantic fare and introspective drama allowed his career to progress quickly from television series in his native country to American product like "Narcos" (Netflix, 2017- ). Born Matthew Patrick James Oliver Whelan in Christchurch, New Zealand, he studied acting at Toi Whakaari, the island nation's most esteemed drama school. While there, he also made his television debut on the reality series "Tough Act" (TV2, 2005), which followed the lives and training of students at Toi Whakaari. After earning his Bachelor of Performing Acts in Acting degree, Whelan made his professional acting debut with a minor turn in Taika Waititi's comedy "Eagle vs. Shark" (2007), starring Jemaine Clement. His breakout role came two years later on the comedy drama "Go Girls," playing a young man attempting to contend with a long-lost love. The popularity of the series led to starring roles in several Kiwi d productions, including "My Wedding and Other Secrets" (2011), about a Chinese-born New Zealand woman who breaks with her family's tradition to marry a Caucasian (Whelan), and "The Most Fun You Can Have Dying" (2012), which cast him as a terminally ill man who decides to spend his final days in pursuit of pleasure. More feature roles, including a leading turn as a young man attempting to bring rock and roll to 1965-era New Zealand via pirate radio in "3 Mile Limit" (2014), before Whelan made his debut with American audiences as publisher Hugh Hefner in "American Playboy: The Hugh Hefner Story" (2017), a limited series shot in New Zealand for Amazon Studios. That same year, he was cast on the Netflix drama series "Narcos," playing a freewheeling DEA agent in pursuit of a drug cartel in Colombia.