Professor R. J. Dent is a professional geologist who worked in a lab in Kingston, Jamaica. He also worked as a henchman for Dr. No, who was attempting to sabotage missile launch programs with a high powered radio beam, powered by a nuclear reactor on his private island Crab Key. He appears in the film Dr. No and is portrayed by Anthony Dawson.
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. However, Professor Dent turns around and sees Bond in a chair with his Walther PPK with a silencer on it aimed at Dent. Dent tells him that Dr. No is behind the whole master plan and while Dent's gun is on the floor, he uses his leg to get it. He uses the gun and fires the trigger, but realizes too late that he used all of his 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 second villain (after the Three Blind Mice) that is killed by James Bond.