Professor Dent is first seen as one of the men playing cards with John Strangways just before Strangways' death.
When Bond arrives in Jamaica to investigate Strangways' disappearance, he questions Dent. Later, in Strangways' office Bond discovers a receipt from Dent's practice. He interviews Dent, who says he studied some rocks brought in by Strangways, but they were uninteresting and he threw them out. He also tells Bond that they were definitely not from the island of Crab Key.
Suspicious, Bond later tests Quarrel's boat for traces of radiation using the geiger counter he requested earlier. He notices that there are abnormally high levels of radiation where Strangways had loaded the rocks, which signals to Bond that Dent is a liar. At the same time, Dent goes to Crab Key during the day when ordered never to, just to warn Dr. Julius No about Bond discovering the samples. Dr. No soon informs him that if Bond reaches the island he would be held responsible. He is given a tarantula to murder Bond.
During the night, Bond is awoken by the spider and narrowly escapes death by killing the spider with one of his shoes. The next day in Miss Taro's apartment, Bond waits for his would-be-assassin. Dent opens the door and shoots the decoy Bond arranged in the bed. Bond surprises him and has him drop his gun. As he clarifies some details, Dent slowly reaches for his pistol, eventually snatching it from the floor and pulling the trigger. He's out of bullets. Bond casually remarks "That's a Smith and Wesson. And you've had your six."
Bond coldly shoots him. As he lies on the floor, he shoots him again.
Dent's death scene was controversial because it showed James Bond killing a man in cold blood. Even though Ian Fleming had conceived the character as one who is authorized to commit such actions, in none of his novels is Bond shown acting in this manner. According to James Bond: The Legacy, the filmmakers needed a scene to illustrate the "licensed to kill" concept and in fact had originally filmed the scene to show Bond firing several more bullets into Dent, but ultimately removed all but the first two shots. Some televised broadcasts removed Bond's second shot.
- He does not appear in the Dr. No novel and is exclusive to the film. There IS a professor character in the novel, but his name is not given and he is not implied to be working for the enemy in any capacity.
- Anthony Dawson met director Terence Young when he was working as a stage actor in London, but by the time of the film's shooting, Dawson was working as a pilot and crop duster in Jamaica.
- Dawson also portrayed Ernst Stavro Blofeld in From Russia with Love and Thunderball, although his face was never seen and his voice was dubbed by Eric Pohlmann.
- He is the first villain that is killed by James Bond.